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Ante Jazic to Russia?


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Guest Jeffery S.

SC Kuban? What is especially odd is that they offer more than Rapid, I admit I have never heard of them, I wonder if there is an alternate spelling.

No more game reports on Jazic from me, that's for sure.

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Kuban Krasnodar was promoted last year and as Sigma says are in 15th place two points out of a non-relegation spot. They were founded in 1928 but in the last decade have played in primarily the 2nd and 3rd division in Russia. Krasnodar is a city in southern Russia near the Black Sea but also quite near to Chechnya. Thus it is pretty warm but also in an area in which there are a fair number of Chechnyan terrorist attacks (although statistically the chances of being struck by one would be very low). Their team is composed largely of players from Russia and other former Soviet countries although they have two players from Cameroon. The interest in Jazic probably shows that they have realized that while that is fine for the second division they need some international players to compete in the 1st where there are many South American and African players. Their regional rival was relegated from the 1st division last year so the club is probably pretty serious about staying up. The move for Jazic would certainly suggest that they are.

It may come as no surprise to anyone here but I think this is a great move for Jazic. The club is probably a bit weaker than Rapid but the league is certainly much stronger than the Austrian one where he has been playing the same teams over and over (Austrian league has only 10 teams, half of which are pretty poor). I think Rapid would be about an 8th or 9th place team in the Russian league and the top Russian teams like Lokomotive and Torpedo are certainly much stronger than the Austrian champions GAK. The lower half of the Austrian league would be 2nd division teams in Russia. Thus he will be playing against top competition every week. He should also have no problem winning a starting place (unlike Hutchinson who may not have been a starter for the stronger Saturn) which may have been an issue had one of the rumoured Bundesliga transfers taken place. The only possible risk is the possibility of relegation but if he plays well he should be able to transfer. Also the transfer possibilities are better in that in Austria he had nowhere better to go than Rapid while success here could lead to a much stronger team.

I think this is also a good move for Canadians as once someone has success in a league this can lead to other opportunities such as has occurred in Scandanavia. I consider the Russian league to be currently the sixth best in Europe because I think its mid and lower table teams are stronger than those of the other possible candidates (Portugal, Holland, Greece, Turkey). It is also rapidly improving in large part due to oil revenues (a little known fact is that Russia and Saudi Arabia regularly alternate as the world's top oil producing country). Since we don't seem to be making any inroads in France, Russia could turn into a valuable league for our players who aren't ready for the big four. As Jazic is a pretty experienced player there shouldn't be much risk of him failing which could have happened with Hutchinson. The interest in Hutchinson shows that the Russians don't have any problems or preconceptions about signing Canadian players. With his Croatian background he also should not have much problem adjusting to the language and culture.

On a personal level I am certainly happy that I will be able to watch him on tv and possibly live this summer and to tell my friends that there is a Canadian playing in the league. Unfortunately they have already played in Yaroslavl this year but maybe I will head down to one of their games in Moscow. Will post on the board on any games I am able to watch in which he plays (some may be shown on the Russian webcasts).

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