Zimbabwe: Nomadic Ex-Bosso Development Player Sabatini Finds New Home in Scotland

11 February 2021

At only 22-years-old, Zimbabwe-born attacking midfielder Griffin Sabatini has travelled the length and breadth of the globe in his fledgling football career.

Sabatini, who now holds Swiss nationality, is now playing for Scottish League One side Airdrieonians after joining the side on loan from a Ukraine side, Dnipro-1.

The former Highlanders development player has also played college football in the United States of America and had stints in Portugal and Spain in his youth career.

"I played football for a couple of Swiss sides including FC Wohlen. The standard was very good at the youth level. I then went back to Zimbabwe at the age of 14 to play for the best side in the country who are called Highlanders F.C," he said in a recent interview with Callum McFadden of CFB Football.

"I played for them until I reached the under 18 set up and then I returned to Switzerland. With my youth team in Switzerland (Meyrin FC) we won the U17 Swiss cup and my team was packed with a lot of young talent. Following that, I went to play over in the United States.

"I also spent time training with a Portuguese second division club in-between my time in Switzerland and the USA. I also trained with a team in a very technical division in Spain called Tecera Division and got the opportunity to play against big clubs like UD Levante," he said.

Sabatini was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in Switzerland where he attended the International School of Geneva. In 2017, he attended Northeastern University and played for their college soccer team.

In August 2019, he signed his first professional contract with Ukrainian Premier League side Dnipro-1, penning a one-year deal. He made his professional debut as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Vorskla Poltava in July last year.

He joined Scottish League One side Airdrieonians on a season-long loan deal last August. The 22-year-old told UK media outlet, Daily Record, that he was keen to make the breakthrough into the British game.

"I wanted to go to either England or Scotland on loan," he said.

"It was essential for me to be playing in a high-quality team and get some first-team minutes with teams in England or Scotland.

"Talks went back and forth with Airdrieonians and my agency, who are a Scottish agency, so they have good connections here in Scotland.

"I wanted to test myself at a high-quality side, and at Airdrie they are packed with high quality young players like Thomas [Robert] for example.

"He has come from a good level with Montpellier and there is a good chance for development here.

"The game in Scotland means that you need to think quickly and understand how to react quickly. I think it's a good place for me to be.

"You need to think before you have the ball and think two or three moves again. I'm excited to play in a league where the game moves quite fast.

"The whole club has been very welcoming. I went to the stadium and it was actually gorgeous.

"It's a big stadium; much bigger than I expected. I'm enjoying it so far and looking forward to getting back to training."

Sabatini is targeting a title win with Ian Murray's men and reckons he can make a real impact at the heart of the midfield.

He added: "I want to be able to make a real impact on the pitch.

"Every game I want to make two or three key passes and really shift the game.

"I really want to contribute defensively as well; I feel like that is one of my real qualities.

"I give everything and don't leave anything on the pitch.

"I haven't set myself an aim, but if I can help the defence and contribute with some goals and assists I would be happy

"My main objective is to get the team to get into the Championship.

"Whatever I can do, wherever the manager puts me, hopefully we can win League One and reach the Championship."

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