Jovan Nikolic ; Young Zebras Goalkeeper Who Dreams Of Playing In Europe Top Leagues

TLOTLO KEBINAKGABOThe national football under 20 (U20) team goalkeeper Jovan Nikolic is aiming to be first the local player to ply his trade in top European Leagues which among others include the English Premier League and Spanish La Liga.

Aged 19, Nikolic currently plies his trade for CS Maritimo under 23 (U23) team. Maritimo is a Portuguese Sports Club founded in Madeira- an autonomous region of Portugal which comprises four islands. He joined the club in 2016 following a short stay in South Africa where he developed the love for football. “I moved from Botswana to South Africa for schooling in 2013 and spent almost three years there,” he told Gazette Sport in an interview. “My love for football matured there (South Africa) as it was the most played sport at my school.”

He said following his stay in South Africa, he then explained to his parents that he would like to pursue a career in football. “That is when we started exploring options in Europe and I ultimately came to Portugal in 2016 to join my current team,” he said. Nikolic is of the view that ever since he joined his current team he has grown as a player. “That is mentally and physically; I mean I have grown in all aspects of the game because I am now in good hands with excellent coaches. I am in a comfortable position, I just need to work hard and maintain my focus,” he told this publication.

Meanwhile, asked why he opted for the goalkeeping department instead of out-field positions, he said; “I have always wanted to be a goalkeeper from a tender age, I enjoy it while playing with my father and friends at home. There was a point where I wanted to play outfield but my friends encouraged me to continue being a goalkeeper as they felt I was good at the position.” Nikovic’s all time favourite goalkeeper is David de Gea of Manchester United (English Premier League).

This is the young goalkeeper who got his maiden U20 team call up last year December during the U20 COSAFA championship which was held in Zambia. “I was very delighted and I enjoyed it. I mean I got to hold the national team flag on my shoulders and play for my country; it was a big achievement for me. I felt very proud and I believe I gave my best and I enjoyed the experience as well as the responsibility,” he said