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Qarabag’s historic charge into the UEFA Champions League group stages, aided by Dino Ndlovu’s four goals in 6 qualifying round matches, has been concretised by a group draw against Italian giants AS Roma, Atletico Madrid from Spain and English champions Chelsea.

Dino Ndlovu made the worldwide headlines on Wednesday evening, as he fired Qarabag to an historic UEFA Champions League qualification, the first for any Azerbaijan club, via away goals rule in the 2-1 loss (2-2 on aggregate) against Danish giants FC Copenhagen. Ndlovu, however, remains modest in the face of praise and credits his entire team and the work they all put into qualifying.

“…it really feels amazing to have played vital role to help the team to make history, but all of this boils down to hard work and being patient.

“We have great squad with great talent, and nothing beats hard work, no matter how talented you are” enthused the 27-year old forward.

Qarabag, who come in as true underdogs of the competition, face a daunting task of negotiating through some of the most feared clubs in Europe. On Thursday evening, they were drawn in group C with Atletico Madrid, Roma, and Chelsea. Dino tells Joburg post that he is chuffed at the prospect of facing the biggest teams in Europe, before calling out Blues defender David Luiz ahead of their imminent clash in the competition.

“I think all of the games I’m looking forward to matching up against them, because we will be playing against well experienced teams in this competition.

“I’m also looking forward to facing David Luiz, I think me and him have unfinished business since we last met 2012 when I was with Bafana Bafana in Sao Paulo,” he says, alluding to his squad debut against Brazil in 2012, where he haplessly suffered an injury and was replaced by now Cape Town City coach, Benni McCarthy. He insists that his recent squad emissions do not have him all too bothered anymore after missing out on a Bafana Bafana call-up on Monday, especially since coach Stuart Baxter made contact with him.

Dino Ndlovu of South Africa injured during the International Friendly match between Brazil and South Africa at Estadio Morumbi on 7 September 2012 ©Chris Ricco/BackpagePix

“I use to feel hard done by before, but not anymore.

“Even in my recent interviews I said the right time will come and what’s meant for me will be for me, but either way I got a positive result. Monday after the squad was announced, I had brief conversation with Stuart Baxter, and it was great motivation to hear that I’m in his plans and that the door is open for me in the national team. I must just carry on working hard.”


Author: Katlego Mereko

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