JON VAN WAGENEN - Friday, February 12, 2010
A brief weekend trial was all it took for RoPS to ink the defender Etchu Tabe who continues his northward odyssey, moving from western Sweden to Santa Claus' hometown Rovaniemi in northern Finland.
"Immediately they were very interested and wanted me, I was very happy about that," Tabe told Yanks Abroad.
Tabe's two year contract at Ljungskile expired and the team hoped to bring him back. However the Cameroon-born player was looking for a bigger reward for his solid play than the second division Swedish team was willing or able to provide.
"This is a great choice for me in my growth and a decision that feels right for me and for my future," Tabe stated. "A very influential person in my football career always tells me ‘sometimes it's necessary to take a step sideways, to go forward,' and I look forward to this new experience with a good team with great history."
RoPS was relegated from Finland's top division last season, but is a club with a history of success, including making the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup-Winners' Cup in 1987-88, and making two appearances in the UEFA Cup in 1989 and 1990. The team's desire to improve was one of the things attracted Tabe, as well as the ability to develop.
"Talking to the players, I felt they all wanted more, a very ambitious group. With an English coach at the helm, willing to teach to bring out the best from his players. At this point in my career, I realized and felt that I needed something like this, to mould my skills into a better defender in preparation for the next step; learning a leadership role, tactical and technical responsibilities required for my position," said Tabe.
Tabe may have found a mentor in former Feyenoord Rotterdam and Ghanan international player Christian Gyan, who newly returned to his home club.
"[Gyan is an] experienced caliber player with a lively personality which spread like wildfire in just the few days I was there with the team, something every team needs and is a player I can learn alot from," as Tabe described him.
Although the team trains in an indoor arena, the weather in Rovaniemi is even colder and darker than Uddevalla, his recent home base.
"[I have] been in this area of the world a while, but still the cold suprises me every once in a while," concluded the Peach Belt Conference record holder for single season goals and assists.
Tabe and RoPS begin their Ykkönen campaign in April.