Valerijs Sabala: Fox in the box

Ο Τεντ Φαν Λέουβεν για τον Ιράκλι Μαϊσουράτζε

Sabala. A name like an oriental war-cry. Sabala. Sounds like a secret spell from Asia of the Middle-East.
Valerijs Sabala however, wasnt born in mysterious regions, hidden by time. He comes from the North of Europe. From Latvia, where the people are cool, efficient and down to earth. No glamour. What you see is what you get.

Valerijs Sabala plays his football in the same style. No gallery-play for him. Cool, clean finishing, that is his trademark. Sabala is an assasin from nature. He is from the category of players you dont see too much in the game. You might even forgot he is there. Untill you see him with the hands in the air, surrounded by teammates. Scoring is his passion, his mission, his obsession.

His style reminds of silent snipers like Nikos Machlas, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Always in the right time at the right place. They hardly score bombastic goals. They are there for the tap in, a bounce from the keeper, a deflected ball. The men converting the simple chances.
With the inside foot, the side of their head, their shin, the knee. There always seems to be an element of luck in their goals, on the right spot by coincidence.
But their scoring ability has nothing to do with luck. Its always them. They have the instinct to be in the right place at the right time. Even in a crowded elevator they will always find more time and space than others.

In football, these kind of strikers are called: a fox in the box. They excecute with a smile. Their biggest quality is their calmness and balance above the ball. They have the awareness you cannot learn anywhere. And another quality is, they never panic. Even after a big miss, they shake their heads and continue. Focus on the next chance. That makes them special.
Valerijs Sabala belongs to this category of strikers. Belgium giants FC Brugge took him as a young player. Young, but not unexperienced. National teamcoach Marian Pahars took him already in the national team of Latvia, although Sabala has to become 20 yet. Pahars, another name of Anorthosis great history, by the way.
FC Brugge wanted to give Sabala some experience and agreed to let Valerijs to come on loan to Anorthosis. Unfortunately last thursday they had to use him in a Europe League game with Grasshoppers, so we could not make the deadline for the APOEL-game. Although we tried everything. We had a airticket reserved, a taxi was waiting at Grasshoppers-stadium to get Valerijs on the late flight to Larnaca, but coach Michel Preud’homme had one doubtful player and Valerijs had to be standby. So he could not be here in time to get him registrered at the CFA.
The most important thing however, is to have Valerijs Sabala on the squad, with Yuriy Yakovenko we had only one player for that position. Sabala gives us also the option to play in different styles.
Potential, goals, character. Anorthosis fans might consider themselves lucky with yet another quality striker.

Famagusta, Anorthosis will return.

Ted van Leeuwen,
Technical director

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