Fresh from signing his permanent contract with AFC Wimbledon of English League One yesterday, goalkeeper Nik Tzanev very kindly gave of his time to answer a few questions for me. Speaking in an accent that is very much half-Kiwi / half-English (he has lived in the UK since 2006), Nik opened up on the hard work that got him to his current success, the merits of a loan move to non-league football and also gives some advice for aspiring young Kiwi players who dream of making it as a professional in England.
Since the Hyundai A-League began play in 2005, there has been a lot of “overseas” representation at clubs in both playing and coaching. Whilst the vast majority have naturally been from the two host nations – Australia and New Zealand – there has also been the standard smattering from Brazil and also other countries such as Japan, Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Argentina, South Korea, South Africa, Scotland, France, Chile and England, to name but a few.
Despite this multi-national make-up of the A-League’s clubs, there is one group of players which has struggled to find representation… The doorstep nations of the South Pacific, for so many years qualifying opponents of the Socceroos, have seen a mere four players grace the A-League. Half of those have come from the Solomon Islands, one from Fiji and one from Papua New Guinea. So today I ask the question, why have more players from other Oceania nations not made the grade?