22 September 2012

DPMM FC's Jerkovic hits Asian scoring milestone

Tuesday, September 18, 2012
IVAN Jerkovic's (pic) 50th Asian goal couldn't have come at a better time for the DPMM FC fan-favourite.

The Croatian central-midfielder netted the third goal during the 3-1 win over Young Lions in their Singapore League (S-League) match last week, the result was only their second victory in seven S-League games since the start of the second round in June.

The goal came after Ghanian striker Osman Basiru pounced on a weak back pass to the Young Lions goalkeeper and laid the ball off to Jerkovic, with DPMM FC captain Rosmin Kamis and left-back Sairol Hj Sahari putting the visitors in front after Benjamin Kristoffersen Lee gave the hosts a 64th minute lead at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.

Jerkovic started his journey in Asia back in 2006 when he signed for Sarawak and netted four times, going on to play for Indonesian outfit Pelita Jaya FC (12 goals) and Royal Malaysian Police Force (Polis Diraja Malaysia/PDRM) (three goals) over the next two years.

His first stint with DPMM FC saw him net 12 times but the country's suspension by FIFA in 2009 and DPMM FC's subsequent expulsion from the S-League forced him to move to eight-time S-League champions Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) FC, where he found the back of the net 15 times over the course of one and a half years.

He moved back to Brunei's only professional club when FIFA lifted its suspension last year, and his fourth goal this season marked half a century of strikes for the 33-year-old. "It's very nice to have scored 50 goals ... I'm a midfielder, not a striker, but I still like attacking football," he said yesterday.

"Our tactics now are different from 2009. Rosmin and I now play more defensively because we have three strikers, so there's not much space to go forward.

"Back in 2009, we only played with two strikers. So now I only have chances to score from free-kicks, penalties and long-range shots.

"I don't really set myself a target of goals at the start of the season though.

"When I was younger I always wanted to score goals, but now winning trophies is the most important thing for me," he admitted.

Winning trophies he has two Singapore League Cup titles with DPMM FC probably wasn't the first thing on his mind when he moved from Croatia to Kuching in 2006 though, explaining that it was more for a change of scenery than anything else.

"I was playing in Croatia for too many years and I thought it was time for a change," he explained.

"An agent from Malaysia told me Sarawak were looking for a midfielder, so I signed a four-month contract and I thought I would leave after that.

"But that's football, you never know what's going to happen." The Brunei Times

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