Asia looms as Anderson's next adventure

Zac Anderson has not let the grass grow under his feet since finishing up at Sydney FC and anticipates finalising negotiations to join a new club within days – probably in Asia.

Zac Anderson

Source: Getty Images

The big central defender played in both legs of Sydney’s AFC Champions League round of 16 tie against Chinese club Shandong Luneng, but on May 26, the day after the second leg, his name was on a list of players the club said would not be at the Sky Blues next season.

But Anderson told The World Game he had begun seeking alternatives well ahead of that, not just in case there was no new contract at Sydney but also because of his desire to eventually experience life and football in Asia, and he said he was now not far off securing his future.

“Obviously when you’re coming off contract you don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” Anderson said. “I never closed the door on Sydney and the door isn’t closed long-term to ever go back, it was just more of a decision that was made within the salary cap restraints.

“The squad was a big one this season, due to the ACL on top of the A-League, and not being in the ACL next year that changes.

“And I’m realistic, I understand the circumstances, and I’m wise enough to know this and I’ve been putting a few irons in the fire for a while now. I’ve covered myself and hopefully I’ve done enough to move on to bigger and better things.

“I’ve actually been preparing to leave Sydney since January.

“The club informed me during the back end of the season that they wanted to keep me, so I was keeping that door ajar because I didn’t want to close off opportunities. If a club like Sydney says they want to keep you, then you are naturally interested.

“But I was never naive enough, when there was no concrete offer or contract on the table, to put all my eggs in one basket, so I was speaking to other people. I’ve been talking to a number of clubs throughout Asia for a while now and I’m just making sure I cover all bases moving forward.”

Anderson found it hard to get game-time in the A-League last season, but was revelling in the opportunity to start in those round of 16 ACL games.

Unfortunately, he was red-carded in the 76th minute of the second leg of the tie for fouling a Shandong player to deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Shandong eventually scored a late goal to advance to the quarter-finals on the away goals rule.

Anderson, 25, began his A-League career at Gold Coast United and really made his name and reputation at Central Coast Mariners, before joining Sydney last season. He believes now is the time to experience playing football on another continent if he can get the right deal.

“I did my best whenever I had the opportunity at Sydney and I was lucky enough to get a few games at the back end and we did quite well,” Anderson said.

“I’m in a period where I’ve had some time to reflect on the season, had a little holiday, and now I’m all guns blazing towards the future. I’ve got a few things that are starting to heat up and get a little serious and I expect to be making a few decisions in the next couple of days.

“There are a few opportunities available in the A-League, but I’m getting to an age now where Asia is an avenue I’d like to experience and I think I’m ready to go, I’m experienced enough and I think it would be a great opportunity for myself and my football and to financially set myself up.

“I’m not in a relationship at the moment, so I’m free to make a decision where I don’t have to consider a partner and that’s part of the reason I’m thinking about going over now. If the opportunity is right I’m ready to go and it’s exciting times.

“There have been some pretty strong discussions over the last couple of weeks with some clubs in Asia. I’m not really in a position to say who I’m talking to, because things are at a delicate stage and I don’t want to upset that, but I’m working day and night to get things sorted.”

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4 min read
Published 9 June 2016 at 5:50pm
By Greg Prichard