Saddam sets sights on Turkey after joining Northern Cypriot side [Dawn]

Saddam sets sights on Turkey after joining Northern Cypriot side [Dawn]

KARACHI: Saddam Hussain is on the move again. This time, though, he hopes it has taken him very close to realising his biggest aim: play in Europe.

The Pakistan international midfielder put pen to paper on a year-long deal with North Cyprus side Larnaka Genclerbirligi SK on Wednesday in a move he hopes will open doors to Turkey for him.

“This is a platform for me to earn a move to Turkey,” Saddam told Dawn. “A number of players who have played well here have earned moves to Turkish Super League clubs and I hope I can do the same. I have to work hard and perform well.”

With Northern Cyprus being a state only recognised by Turkey, its football association isn’t affiliated with either world’s football governing body FIFA or the European supervisory body UEFA and hence its clubs do not feature in European competitions.

Saddam, however, remains undeterred.

“I have to give my best for the club and see where it takes me,” he added. “The standard of football here is pretty good and the clubs are run professionally.”

Having started his playing career with Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), the 23-year-old midfield dynamo rose to prominence with Khan Research Laboratories (KRL), with whom he won two Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) titles in two seasons.

That earned him a move to Kyrgyz giants FC Dordoi in 2014, where he won the league in his first season, but returned to KRL in 2015 before moving to Bahrain’s Isa FC a few months later.

Early last year, he came back to the country to join PPFL champions K-Electric and now he’s added Larnaka Genclerbirligi as his third foreign club.

“I’m proud that the club showed faith in signing me ahead of a couple of African players who were already having a trial here,” Saddam added. “I hope to repay that faith with performances on the pitch.”

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2017