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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe

Europe

There is new footy club in Zagreb, with the new Zapruđe AFC (or KAN - Klub Australskog Nogometa - in Croatian) joining the Velika Gorica Bombers, Zaprešić Eagles, Agram Power and Zagreb Hawks clubs in the Croatian capital.

Zapruđe club founder and Croatian Knights stalwart Josip Kravar says that some players from other Zagreb area clubs decided to found their own club in their area of the town. The boys are aiming to build on real community spirit, and in the space of one month have attracted 25 players and have around 50 people watching every session from the sidelines.

Kravar says "This is a product of an idea to encourage progress of footy as in Melbourne, when the sport began long ago by founding the clubs in various part of the town. We are building strong community clubs and planning to start a project in September to pull up the kids from school in Zapruđe and start with school of Australian football.

"Croatia is a big sporting nation and has great potential to produce AFL players in the future, and we are trying to go in that direction. All our boys are locals and we'll play our first game in July against the Styrian Downunderdogs from Austria. As we are Croatians, we have no doubt that it will be our first victory and show the all Europe that a new club powerhouse is coming."

The club are also adopting the orange and grey colours of AFL expansion club the Greater Western Sydney Giants, with a hope that they can become GWS' first international affiliate, under the name KAN Zapruđe Giants.

The KAN Zapruđe can be contacted via their new website at footyzaprudje.blogspot.com, and would also like to thank Dean Kennedy and Perth suburban footy club West Coast Cowan, who donated the club's footballs.

The KAN Zapruđe's foundation squad

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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: Brett Northey on Friday, June 17 2011 @ 12:00 am ACST

Croatia continue to surprise with their growth.  5 clubs in one city?

It'll be very interesting to see their progress in the Euro Cup and the European Championships over the next few years.  With a small number of players to draw on and little full field experience I think they went 2-2 at the European Champs last year.  They beat Iceland and Germany, but lost badly to Sweden and Ireland.

I always figured Germany might loom up as the next challenger to the big 4 of Ireland, Britain, Denmark and Sweden, but perhaps Croatia are growing just as fast.
 

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Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN
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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: Cam Homes on Friday, June 17 2011 @ 01:42 pm ACST

Yeah! Great news from Croatia especially with the apparent contractions suffered by the Zagreb Hawks and Agram Power earlier in the year. Lets hope they have been able to recover as well.

I believe the the Bombers and the Zapresic Eagles were the only teams(along with the Down Under Dogs) playing in this year's premiership in Croatia.

Has that changed?

It seems that most countries take a hit in expansion before consolidating their growth, hope that has now happened for Croatia.

Cam

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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: Aaron Richard on Friday, June 17 2011 @ 04:40 pm ACST

 As far as I know, the HLAN premiership this year remains just Velika Gorica, Zapresic and the Styrian Doggies this year, with Zaprude playing friendlies.  Maybe next year there'll be the Hawks and Agram back on the field.  Or the idea might be that Zagreb and Agram are replaced by clubs with a suburb-specific name and identity, rather than the general metro area name (Agram being an alternative older name for Zagreb).

Outside the Zagreb metro area, there was at some point some guys interested in starting a club in Rijeka (the Sharks, I believe) but I'm guessing it didn't get off the ground so far.

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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: kolja51 on Friday, June 17 2011 @ 06:10 pm ACST

Let me clear that up. Last year VG Bombers, Agram Power and Zagreb Hawks played HLAN, while this year we merged Agram and Zagreb into Zapresic Eagles due to a lack of numbers. We gave the team subburban name to attract people from that area, and have another ground develop. In the meantime, 4 ex Croatian Knights that quit playing for several reasons founded Zaprudje team. They gathered around 25 players from that area and will play next season in HLAN, while this season they'll play Croatian Cup (scheduled for this fall) and a friendly with Styrian DownUnderDogs in Austria. We are scouting Zaprudje practices to see if we could get few players to play in Italy next weekend at international tournament.

Depending on a growth, we could next year jump start Power and Hawks. And our priority is focusing on kids, and the idea is that this year we start with kids academy in two location, one where we play all our games, and other at Zaprudje practice ground, both location surrounded with few schools.

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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: sverik25 on Saturday, June 18 2011 @ 11:50 am ACST

Fantastic to hear another club getting off the ground in Europe, hoepfully they can cement a place in the HLAN. Shame about Agram and Zagreb though. Does anyone think there is a chance of clubs from outside Zagreb developing soon?

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Croatia gains another domestic club with Zapruđe
Authored by: kolja51 on Monday, June 20 2011 @ 05:26 am ACST

In reality, no really. There should be a crazy footy Aussie ex-pat fan living in that city to start it. For us from Zagreb it's hard to spread the game in other cties, although we tried few years ago when we played West London Wildcats in Split, and organized Euro Cup in Samobor, but it didn't catch on. The knowledge of the game throughout Croatia is nonexisting. American football showed for few years live games on local TV, and now there are about 20 gridiron football teams in Croatia. We need AFL games live on local TV to get sport growing, without that it's all about word of mouth.

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