Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Interview with Asmir Begovic

Asmir Begovic recently spoke to Come On You Reds about his career overseas, his status with Canada, and the disaster that was the U-20 World Cup this summer. Begovic was a solid goalkeeper for the at the U20's on an otherwise poor team, he is now moving up the depth charts with Portsmouth and should recieve first team action very soon. He is one of Canada's brightest young players.

First of all congrats on being named Canada's under-20 soccer player of the year! What does this award mean to you?

Thanks very much, it means a lot to me, it’s always nice to be recognized for things you are doing, so its definitely a great honour.

You moved to Canada under very difficult circumstances, while you were in Bosnia was soccer a way to forget about the turmoil that was going on around you?

It was a nice way to change things up, I obviously did not play too much football there when I was younger because i was very young and because of the situation there, but it was for people who were involved in football back then and still is now.

When you moved to Canada, how long did it take for you to feel truly Canadian? Did you ever have any thoughts of playing for Bosnia instead of Canada internationally?

It didn’t take long to be honest, the Canadian people were very welcoming and I made friends very soon and so did my family so it was easy to settle in quick and feel at home. Well it was an option I had and still have really until I am 21 I believe but I enjoy playing for Canada, hopefully we can keep improving and become a better footballing nation, on the pitch and up with the directors and things as well.

You played for Canada at the U-20's this summer, did you feel that the coaches prepared the team well for such a large tournament? Can you compare the preparation that Canadian coaches gave you compared to the coaches you have had overseas?

I think it was always going to be very difficult to prepare for the tournament and it obviously didn't work out to be the best, we had games all over the place to draw attention so it took up a lot of the time, and for us European players it was very difficult coming of a long hard season to go basically into 6 weeks of intense preparation again without a break to recover from the season. That then lead to injuries and fatigue which never allowed us to put out our strongest team in friendlies to prepare, and that showed in the tournament. I believe the team that played against Chile never played together in the whole preparation so it could have been better for sure. You can’t really compare the preparations for what it would be like for Portsmouth because here there is a lot more money and resources to get the best of everything to get the best for players, and give everything possible to get the best performances from the players.

What is your situation with the Canada right now? Have you been asked to represent Canada at the Olympic qualifiers? If so, have you accepted?

I have been asked to participate, I have said yes, but the club have not made a decision yet on the release, so I will have to wait a little while longer to see what will, but I would love to go for sure.

Jonathon De Guzman recently chose to represent Holland instead of Canada at the international level. What are you feelings on his decision?

It is difficult for me to comment on his situation, I don’t know what feeling he went through and what the deciding factors for his decision were. It’s a shame that he didn’t choose us but then again nobody wants to have a player playing for Canada who doesn’t want to be there.

You were loaned out from Portsmouth to Bournemouth, where you ran into adversity as well as success. What have you learned from this experience?

The loan to Bournemouth was ok, it was good in terms of getting experience of playing, but once you don’t get paid properly and the club has problems it doesn’t become so nice to be a part of, but I enjoyed the games there and it helped my development.

Do you consider daily training with international-level talent to be more beneficial to your long-term development than first-team game action at a lower level?

The training with Portsmouth is fantastic, and when you are not playing regularly in the first team it’s the next best things. I obviously want to go on loan and get more games but the club need me at the club so its difficulty to go but maybe something can be sorted out.

What has David James meant to your development as a GK? Are there any other players on Portsmouth or with Canada that have had significant impacts on your career?

David James is very good to work along with, I take bits of things he does and ask him for advice so it’s very good to work alongside him. Player’s don’t really have too much impact on things, in Portsmouth of course we have some very experience players and it makes it easier to play with them, but the cant help you on decisions and other important parts of your career.

When do you see yourself getting a start for the first team (Portsmouth)?

Only time will tell on that, I have played in many pre season games which was a good experience, as for league or cup matches time will tell, but hopefully it will happen at some point.

And finally, if Toronto FC was an established club in 2004, with a functioning academy, would you have had second thoughts about moving overseas?

Of course and I think it would have been the same for any player, it would have been a nice option too, to play professionally in your own country is something fantastic and it would have been worth a thought. But things worked out differently and I am enjoying my footballing career in Europe right now, but who knows what will happen in the future maybe one day I can play for a team in Canada in a great league with some fantastic fans which Toronto already has plenty of.


S. Grybos said...

Great work with the interviews.

I have added "Come On You Reds!" to my Canadian Links.


Kieran Way said...

Thanks a lot!
I'll check out your blog as well, and I'll put a link up on my page for your blog too.

S. Grybos said...

Thank you kindly.

I added you to the MLS Blog Link Roll and Canadian Link Roll on SoccerCityFC and the Toronto FC Blog Link of the SoccerCityFC's MCFC and TFC Blog.