herald

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Globetrotter Eamon Zayed on the move again

EAMON ZAYED is ready for another bout of globetrotting in his career as the Dublin-born striker has quit his club in Iran due to a financial crisis there and is poised for a move to Dubai.

But Zayed's international career with Libya's national team is still on hold as the Libyan FA have yet to process the paperwork needed to clear the former Ireland U21 to play for them, so the 29-year-old is still waiting to make his competitive debut despite a string of friendly appearances.

Zayed quit Derry City 12 months ago and signed a deal with Iranian club side Persepolis. The Dubliner was a massive hit with the Tehran club, coming off the bench to score a hat-trick on his home debut in front of 90,000 fans to earn instant hero-status from the club's fans, and they were keen to retain Zayed.

But financial problems across the game in Iran have forced Zayed to quit and he has since severed his ties with the club.

A number of clubs were keen to sign the former Drogheda United and Bray Wanderers man, and Shamrock Rovers boss Trevor Croly spoke to Zayed about a possible move to the Hoops, but the striker says he's likely to take up a short-term contract offer from Dubai Sports Club.

"I could come home and play in Ireland but I like travelling and trying new things so it looks like I'll head to Dubai as the club there are very keen to sign me," Zayed told the Herald today.

"I've not signed yet but I more or less have my mind made up to go there and get playing for them next month.

"I have enjoyed playing in the League of Ireland and I've been lucky enough to win trophies here, but there has been the other side as well. You had Drogheda United and then Sporting Fingal going bust, and when I was finished with Derry I'd have had to sign on the dole for two months before the new season started, so that's not ideal.

"So I'll look at my options but it looks like Dubai could be a good move for me. I enjoyed it when I was out in the UAE with the Irish team at the World Youth Cup nine years ago and I'd like to try the lifestyle there," added Sallynoggin lad Zayed, who has reluctantly finished up in Iran.

"Iran is going through a crisis, their currency has deflated against the US dollar, all foreign players and coaches out there get paid in dollars, so that has more or less doubled what the clubs owe to people and they can't afford to pay them.

"It's even affected the national team coach, Carlos Queiroz, as it seems he hasn't been paid in a while.

"So a lot of foreign players out there are taking the opportunity of the mid-season to leave their teams and move on, which I have done as well.

"I was in a situation where I wasn't paid over three or four months, and you need to get paid, but in the end I left on good terms with them as I might go back there to play again some day when things pick up. The people out there were very good to me," added Zayed.

The 29-year-old had returned home to Ireland to assess his options but flew back to Iran a fortnight ago to arrange his affairs with Persepolis, get paid his back-money and have his contract cancelled, so he's now a free agent.

"Dubai Sports Club have offered me a six-month contract and if I do well they'll extend that, so I am leaning towards that and I might head over there next week to sort things out, and the standard out there is high. Maradona was managing out there recently," he says, frustrated that his career with Libya has yet to take off.

Zayed played at U20 and U21 levels for the Republic of Ireland alongside current stars like Kevin Doyle and Stephen Kelly, but he opted to declare for Libya through the parentage rule and has won four caps in friendly games, but the paperwork needed for FIFA to confirm that he's finished with Ireland has not yet been processed so the wait goes on.

"It's frustrating," he says. "This has been going on for two years now and I still can't play a competitive game for them. From what I know the Libyans have the information they need from the FAI but it's taking a long time.

"They lost to Algeria in the African Cup of Nations so they're out of that but they still have World Cup qualifiers coming up in March next year and I might be involved by then.

"I have been involved with them. I even travelled to Morocco for their play-off with Algeria only to be told that I still wasn't cleared. It's messy but I hope to get it sorted and get my career with Libya moving," he explained.

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