Asian Player Of The Year Ognenovski Trains With Heart

Asian Player of the Year and former Victorian Premier League star Sasa Ognenovski has praised Melbourne Heart FC’s burgeoning brigade of local league graduates.

Asian Player of the Year and former Victorian Premier League star Sasa Ognenovski has praised Melbourne Heart FC-s burgeoning brigade of local league graduates.

The Socceroo central defender is training with Melbourne Heart FC ahead of the 2011 Asian Cup in Qatar, seeking to consolidate his fitness following a taxing campaign which saw the 31-year old play 48 matches.

Ognenovski, who is currently captain of Asian Champion Seongnam Ilhwa Chunma, has undergone a rapid rise this season, ascending to senior Socceroo status after claiming the AFC Champions League-s Most Valuable Player award in addition to his continental player crown.

The former Melbourne Knight also featured in the recently completed FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, facing reigning European Champions and eventual World Champions Internazionale of Italy.

As the most-prominent footballer to recently emerge for the Victorian Premier League, Ognenovski-s story is one which reiterates the importance of patience and hard work in climbing the football ladder.

Discussing his rapid rise, Ognenovski said: “I think it-s just opportunity. Some of the boys, even those here at Heart, have come from the VPL and have done quite well.

“I was given the opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. I took it seriously, started living professionally, in the VPL you can-t live professionally, you are working during the day and sometimes you have to train if you-ve had a hard day at work and can-t be bothered.

“It-s really just grasping the professionalism and always trying to better yourself. I-m 31 and I think I have a lot of improvement in me, and as long as I keep thinking like that, I will keep trying to improve.”

Among the Victorian Premier League graduates currently plying their trade for Melbourne Heart FC include Nick Kalmar, Aziz Behich, Kliment Taseski and Adrian Zahra, who recently signed a new contract which will see him remain at the Club until 2013.