Croatian based Australian Steven Ugarkovic has joined HNK Gorica on loan from Osijek for the remainder of the season. The second division team are currently top of the table and looking good for promotion with fourteen games left.
“When this season is over I have one year left on my contract and I will be considering my options in Osijek and away from Osijek,” Ugarkovic told Football Central.
Last November Ugarkovic was called up to the Australian U23 side for an international tournament in China. He relished the opportunity and will be hoping that regular senior football will give him every chance to don the green and gold on again.
“Getting the chance to represent my country was a great honour and experience which I’m very grateful to Aurelio Vidmar and the coaching staff for giving me the chance,” said the midfielder.
“Also playing with a great bunch of boys and team was really great.
The first step on the path to qualification will come in March of this year when the Olyroos begin their campaign with a match against Hong Kong, followed by games against Chinese Taipei and Myanmar. To be eligible to advance to the 2016 AFC U23 Championship, the Australians will need to top their group or finish as one of the best five runners up from the ten groups.
If the Olyroos progress to the 2016 tournament, a top three finish will guarantee their place in Brazil amongst the sixteen best U23 sides in the world, a career highlight that Ugarkovic would love to be involved in, although his focus is on helping Australia get there first.
“To represent Australia at the Olympics would be a big honour and highlight in my football career. But first the task ahead is to qualify.”