Aras Ozbiliz seeks to bring back great players like Mkhitaryan to national team if elected FFA president
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 7, ARMENPRESS. Retired footballer Aras Ozbiliz has said he’s running for the Football Federation of Armenia presidency in order to utilize his experience and bring benefits to the Armenian football, and make sure that the best players, like Henrikh Mkhitaryan, return to the national team.
In an interview with Armenpress, the 33-year-old former Armenia midfielder said that the country needs a national development plan for football.
“I can bring huge benefits to Armenian football with the experience that I have amassed over the years. I see my work only through maintaining the principles of transparency and fairness,” he said when asked on his plans if elected FFA president during the December 23 vote.
“I will reveal my plans regarding the Football Federation during an upcoming press conference. I can’t say that I will be able to change everything in a couple of years, but I think that we need a national football development plan, which won’t be taken from some other country, but will rather be designed to match our uniqueness. Armenian football needs global changes,” Ozbilis added.
There’s been a lot of talk in the sports community that Inter Milan’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who was formerly the captain of the Armenian national team, is endorsing Ozbilis for the FFA presidency.
“I am grateful to Henrikh Mkhitaryan for always supporting me both in word and deed. I’ll say this, if elected, I won’t spare effort to have players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan play in the Armenian national team until the end of their career. Perhaps we don’t fully realize that Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a great football player. Small countries like Armenia must cherish players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Henrikh is the example and proof that it is possible to have global stars from Armenian football. We must do everything possible to use, for example, Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s experience, talent and connections for our development,” Aras Ozbiliz said when asked on Mkhitaryan’s support.
Reminiscing on his career in the Armenian national football team, where he played in over 40 matches, Ozbilis said he was honored to be part of the team. “It was a great honor to play in the Armenian national team. Our generation really brought together a good team, and we were like one big family. Playing with the national team’s shirt is a completely different feeling. I miss the team, but I am still by their side, but now as one of their top fans,” he said.
Asked on the toughest and best players he faced on the field during his career, Ozbilis mentioned Ricardo Quaresma, Adriano, Pepe, Costa, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan himself.
“Honestly, I didn’t like playing against smaller [built] players, because they were a lot faster,” Ozbilis said laughingly. “It was really difficult for me to play against Patrice Evra.”
Asked to name the greatest footballer of all time, Ozbilis said it’s Lionel Messi.
The full interview is available in Armenian.