Ekstein is dreaming big at his new destination in Azerbaijan
Former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder, Hendrick Ekstein is dreaming big at his new destination in Azerbaijan.
Ekstein recently penned a two year deal with Azerbaijan outfit, Sabah FC after cutting ties with Amakhosi towards the conclusion of last season.
He established himself as a permanent fixture in the first-team of Chiefs last season and his departure came as a surprise. Ekstein made 19 league appearances at Chiefs in the previous season.
Speaking with Independent Media while in Azerbaijan on Monday, he revealed that his desire is to help his side qualify for the Europa League and cement a place in Bafana Bafana.
"It is always every player's dream to play overseas but obviously you have to prove yourself at home and then attract interest from overseas. I'm happy that I've fulfilled my dream of playing overseas. I'm not here on a holiday but I'm here to work hard. One of the things that also inspired my move was the fact that I want to compete in major European continental competitions. If we finish in the top three, we will compete in the Europa League. I'll be very happy if I can help my team qualify for the Europa League, " an optimistic Ekstein explained.
Ekstein got off in to a sparkling start in his spell with Sabah. He netted a brace and made one assist in a friendly match.
"When I got the news that I was going overseas, I was so happy. I couldn't believe it when my agent (Palesa Mkhize) told me. The only time, I started to believe was when he sent me a contract. We met, sat down and signed the contract and sent it back. Thereafter, I told my parents about it. I also want to thank Dino Ndlovu. He helped me a lot. Dino has been here and has done it. He is where he is because of the foundation he laid here. I received a warm reception and I don't miss home," he added.
Ekstein is not only dreaming about plying his trade in the Europa League but the burning desire to represent his country is still there.
"I would love to represent my country but firstly I have to work hard here and then the national selectors will notice my hard work. My aim is to help the team become the champions of Azerbaijan. Last season they finished 7th on the log and if we can push for any position in the top 3, I think we would have done well. It will means a lot for me to wear that Bafana jersey." Ekstein said.@minehlecr7