Zabaki keeps the faith


?I do believe that God will open all doors for me in life but, of course, until then I will keep goal and do the best I can and see what happens,? he states matter of factly which, in this day and age is somewhat encouraging and refreshing to hear.
Many felt the likeable 24-year old would probably end the season playing at Albion Park instead of hitting the giddy heights of keeping goal for the table topping Sharks and muted rumours of not just A-League clubs taking an interest, something his match against Sydney FC recently would not have dented his chances of, but also of overseas scouts and it comes as no great surprise that he, and another member of the team, may well be heading offshore for trials at the end of the year.
More rumours suggest A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners are on the lookout for a ?keeper and under the coaching of Lawrie McKinna and Ian Ferguson it would certainly give the lad a solid grounding, but what are his ambitions?
?Obviously I would relish the opportunity to play A-League football but I would also love to play in the Premier League in England if I am good enough but who knows?
?If the chance came to represent Australia I would happily do so anytime, anywhere and in any capacity.?
Destiny may be in his own hands as he has only been playing football seriously for a mere 8-years and the standard he has achieved is remarkable, no doubt aided by the tuition of goalkeeper coach Ron Tilsed this year amongst others. He is, as he describes himself, a ?late bloomer? in this department.
Previously plying the trade at Liverpool Bossy, Port Kembla and Macarthur, how does he feel the second season at the Sharks has gone; ?It?s all a bit surreal at times and all I can do is try to play to a high level of consistency and take things from there.
?I try to approach every game with enthusiasm, dedication and determination.?
As part owner of the Red Barista Caf?, with his mum, just off Kent Street near Town Hall in the city, the season has gone well for ?Zabaki? and it comes as no surprise the confidence is high for the upcoming Finals series; ?If we continue to go into each game as we do at the moment it will take a lot to beat us.
?We are playing some great football and my job is made easier with the back four I have in front of me ? George Souris, Pedj Bojic, Michael Katz and, before injury, Ben Spruce.
?I know they will rarely let me down and that brings confidence and,? he says shyly, ?I hope they feel safe in the knowledge that I will be there backing them up.?
With a few more weeks of the season still to run, no-one at the club is getting carried away with the thought of perhaps the Minor Premiership or a Grand Final appearance; they still have Sydney Olympic to face at Seymour Shaw in the semi-final of the Tiger Turf Cup on the horizon. It could be just the opportunity to get some pay-back for their only loss of the campaign to date when Olympic beat them in extra time of the pre-season Johnny Warren Cup Final but this is something that doesn?t spur the level headed Zabaks on: ?The team feels that it would take the entire side to have an off day for us to be beaten badly and that is not common in football.?
The quietly spoken mild-mannered Zabaks, who follows Arsenal and enjoyed watching video tapes of the likes of Peter Shilton, is surprisingly sane for a goalkeeper who often, as he showed against Sydney FC on several occasions during their ?friendly? that he isn?t afraid to get in among the flying boots and take the odd one for the team but off the pitch you would hardly know he is there.
A charming young man who has a wonderful future ahead of him, whichever direction he finds it takes him.
-By Micky Brock