eastcoaster Posted June 24, 2004 Share Posted June 24, 2004 Just saw this! Thursday, June 24, 2004 Jazic to ride with the Cossacks By Carl Fleming Bedford’s Ante Jazic is about to visit the land of the Cossacks. Jazic, 28, signed a three-year-contract with FC Kuban Krasnodar yesterday, a lower echelon member of Russia’s 16-team premier soccer league. Located near the Black Sea, the city of Krasnodar Krai was founded as a military base in 1793. It has a population of close to one million, and is considered a centre of Cossack culture. “I’m kind of excited,” said Jazic yesterday, as he drove from Mannheim, Germany, (where he signed on the dotted line) to Vienna. “I’m going to a different culture. It’s going to be an educational experience. “It’s going to be a culture shock, though. No one speaks English. I did a lot of hand-waving (with FC Kuban officials).” The left defender/midfielder had been a free agent since last month, when he declined a contract extension from SK Rapid Vienna, his Austrian League team for the past 31#8260;2 seasons. Jazic briefly considered an offer from a German Second Division team, but the FC Kuban contract was too good to turn down. He was reluctant to discuss financial details, except to say the deal was “more lucrative” than the one he signed with SK Rapid in 2001. “I was nervous (during a recent three-week stint with Canada’s national team). I didn’t have a deal that I was comfortable with financially. I was thinking of my future, and I figured I have four or five years left in me. “Now I can enjoy my football, and whatever happens (after the contract expires in 2007), I can still live an enjoyable lifestyle.” FC Kuban was promoted to the Russian Premier League last season and, judging from their next-to-last 2-6-5 record at the mid-season break, is still enduring growing pains. To bolster fortunes, ownership has brought in eight imports, including two Brazilians. Training camp commences Monday, and FC Kuban will open second-half play on July 3 against Spartak Moscow. Russian teams play a home and away game against each opponent, making for a 30-game regular season. “It’s going to take time to adjust,” said Jazic, who helped the Dalhousie Tigers win a national championship in 1995. “I’m just going to come in, train hard and see what happens. Eventually I should start.” Adding to Jazic’s hectic schedule are his commitments with the national team, which has advanced to the semifinals of zone qualifying for the 2006 World Cup tournament in Germany. Canada is grouped with Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica in a six-game, round-robin home-and-away series that starts Aug. 18 and concludes Nov. 17. The top two teams advance to the final stage of zone qualifying, scheduled for Feb. 9 to Oct. 12, 2005. The top three teams in the final stage qualify for the 2006 World Cup, while the fourth-place team plays an Asian side for a World Cup wild-card berth. “I think we’re a darkhouse. I think we can beat anybody (in CONCACEF),” said Jazic. “We’ve got some real weapons up front. We have our first two (World Cup qualifying) games at home and if we get a good start we could be dangerous. “I told (FC Kuban officials) everything, and they are happy I’m playing for the national team. They said, ‘It’s in our interest you play in the World Cup. It’s good for the image of our club.’” Jazic doesn’t expect to return to metro until mid- to late November. “I’m blessed, in a way. I’ve travelled around the world, lived in different places, but in the end it makes me appreciate Halifax more, too. That’s where I want to live when my career is over.” email@example.com Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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