Away from the pitch, Zachary Sukunda loves to go fishing.
A perfect fit for Halifax, right?
HFX Wanderers FC announced the young fullback as their newest addition on Thursday, making him the first player in club history ahead of the CPL’s inaugural season.
The versatile wide player had been in talks with head coach Stephen Hart for several weeks ahead of the announcement.
“The fact this opportunity came at this stage in my development, at 23, is incredible,” Sukunda told CanPL.ca about becoming the first player in HFX Wanderers history.
“This is the perfect time for me.”
Sukunda comes to the Canadian Premier League following professional stints in Sweden and Australia, most recently with Northcote City FC in Australia’s second division. The Ottawa-native also spent two seasons with FC Montreal, the former affiliate of the Montreal Impact.
“When I played abroad, I had one goal: to have a good career,” Sukunda added. “But I always wondered if I could do that here in Canada.
“Could I provide for myself while playing in Canada?”
Playing primarily as a fullback, Sukunda can also step into wide attacking positions. The former AJ Auxerre (France) youth product is two-footed and is expected to play on either side of the pitch.
“He’s technically quite comfortable,” Hart told CanPL.ca ahead of Thursday’s announcement. “The quality of his crosses are good and are of good variety… I liked his capacity to go from penalty box to penalty box.”
A brief chat with the CPL’s most travelled bench boss sold Sukunda on the idea of heading to the the Maritimes for the first time in his life.
“When I had that initial chat with Stephen, it was maybe only 20 minutes,” Sukunda said. “I knew I really wanted to play for him. I respect him, I like what he’s doing and he has a great reputation.”
Sukunda said he already has a soft spot for the city, telling CanPL.ca he’s been watching the stadium developments and fan engagement with interest.
“It’s an incredible stadium,” he added. “Right in the middle of the city with a grass pitch. You can’t beat it.
“I was very keen on going to Halifax right away because it has the potential to be a huge CPL club. Everything is going fast and the fans are eager.”
Despite never visiting Halifax, the Ottawa native says he’s eager to board a plane and meet supporters ahead of next spring.
“I really want to get out to Halifax as soon as possible, just to visit,” Sukunda said with a grin. “I’ll fit something in.”