Araz Ozbiliz
Soccer | 05.10.11 | 00:36

Araz Ozbiliz, a young ethnic Armenian striker from Amsterdam, has
become a welcome addition to the national team of Armenia ahead of
crucial matches later this month.

The 21-year-old playing for AFC Ajax was officially introduced as
an Armenia player in Yerevan on Tuesday, even though is likely to
miss the two upcoming Euro-2012 qualifiers against Macedonia and the
Republic of Ireland due to an injury.

Armenian Football Federation (FFA) President Ruben Hayrapetyan
reportedly gave Ozbilis a national team jersey with number 23 on it.

Ozbilis, who was born in Turkey and whose parents emigrated to the
Netherlands in the early 1990s, has had quite a successful club career
in Amsterdam despite a series of injuries. Two years ago he was even
recognized as the most talented young player of Ajax, the club where
he began training as a young boy. Ozbilis was approached by Armenian
soccer officials on several occasions to start his performances for
Armenia, but reportedly hesitated, hoping to make it to the Dutch
team. Also, the player would have some problems with documents to be
granted Armenian citizenship.

On Tuesday, however, FFA head Hayrapetyan announced that Ozbiliz had
been granted Armenian citizenship by President Serzh Sargsyan~Rs order.

The player received his Armenian passport right away.

Now the Armenian national team is on the rise and for the first time
in the history of independent Armenia has the chance to qualify for
a major tournament.

Only a win or a draw in the October 7 match against Macedonia in
Yerevan will keep Vardan Minasyan~Rs side~Rs chances for promotion
alive ahead of the tenth and final round of the current qualifying
campaign against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on October 11. A
second spot in Euro-2012 qualifying Group B is likely to land Armenia
a chance to contest a spot in the finals through playoffs. If so,
Ozbilis will have recovered by that time.

From: A. Papazian