Fausto De Amicis was a legend in the NSL and capped 13 times for his country. But now he is making his name as a talented coach.
De Amicis has led NPL Victoria 2 club Moreland Zebras into the FFA Cup quarter-finals.
No third division side, two levels below the A-League, has ever reached the final eight.
For the 51-year-old, who starred for Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne in the 1990s and 2000s, Moreland's Cup run as been a fairytale.
"It’s been a wonderful experience for the club," he told FTBL.
"It’s been exciting in the dressing room, exciting for the club and for the supporters. We’re enjoying it, it’s been good fun. The players are really looking forward to each game.
"To come where we have is a great achievement by all at the club, especially the boys that go out on the park."
The Zebras reached the quarter-finals after knocking off NPL Queensland club Magpies Crusaders.
"They had to travel. It wasn’t any easy task for them," De Amicis said.
"At the end of the day it could have been the other way round. They’re a good team. I think we both enjoyed the occasion. We just needed to do a job on the night."
That victory booked a clash with Brisbane Strikers at Perry Park tonight.
De Amicis, who won grand finals in 1995 and 1996 with the Knights and in 1998 and 1999 with South, is full of praise for his young squad.
"95% of the players I have could easily play in the NPL 1 here in Victoria," he said.
"I’m very fortunate. The fact that we are the lowiest ranked team in the Cup, but the players have qualities that would mean they could easily play for any other team in the NPL. I’ve no doubt about that.
"I remember the Strikers in the old NSL days. I’ve no doubt that we’re up against a formidable side, a good footballing-playing squad. They’ll certainly have the goods right across the park.
"We’re under no illusion that we’re going to be up for a game, but we’re really looking forward to the challenge. We have experienced players, smart players, intelligent players that we will be prepared for the occasion.
"I don’t think we will be overawed by the occasion, they’ll just look forward to it."
De Amicis, who has in his third year as head coach at CB Smith Reserve, is Moreland to the core.
The defender started his career there as a teenager, at what was then Brunswick Juventus, before signing for Melbourne Knights in 1992.