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Nikita Rukavytsya
Nikita Rukavytsya
Nikita Rukavytsya
Date of Birth:Jun 22, 1987 (Age 28)
Place of Birth:Mykolayiv
Nationality:Australia
Height:183 cm.
Weight:74 Kg.
Position:Striker
Squad Number:13
Born in the Ukraine, this fleet-footed striker announced himself with an electrifying spell with Perth Glory before shipping off to Europe and trying his luck with Dutch outfit FC Twente, where he hasn’t seen a great deal of first-team football (leading to a wise loan move to Belgium). He offers what barely anyone else in the current Australian camp can: raw pace.

Yes, there are aspects of his game that need refining and his lack of international experience means he will likely have a minor role to play – if any – in South Africa but surely Pim Verbeek can make an allowance for an individual who will cause defenders problems in ways that other Socceroos cannot. Unafraid to take on players and hug the touchline at pace, it might just be that Rukavytsya provides the sort of spark that can so often turn matches at this level late in the game.

And with injury problems to resident star dribbler Harry Kewell, could it be that Rukavytsya’s importance is heightened in the build-up to a tournament that at one stage was only shaping up as a learning curve in a promising career?

Did You know?

Rukavytsya and his family only moved to Australia when he was 14 years old.