Jaze Kabia: It's a special feeling to be playing at Ibrox and Celtic Park

Cork striker is on the comeback trail with Livingston, after being slowed down by Covid and injury
Jaze Kabia: It's a special feeling to be playing at Ibrox and Celtic Park

Jaze Kabia in action for Cobh Ramblers. Picture: Gavin Browne

IT’S almost a year since Cork’s Jaze Kabia made the switch from League of Ireland football to join Scottish Premier Division side Livingston.

It’s been a tough few months for the 21-year-old after the striker picked up an injury on the first day of the season that has seen him out of action up until last month. However, Kabia is determined to kick on for the rest of the campaign and put his injury behind him.

“I’ve really enjoyed it since I came over here. I sustained a medial collateral ligament injury in the first game of the season against Rangers. The MCL is the inside of your knee and the injury kept me out for just over three months,” Kabia said.

“It happened from a 50/50 challenge between me and Glen Karmara. Both of us got the ball but I felt a pop in my knee from the challenge and knew straight away that things weren’t good.

“I got up and tried to run it off but my knee felt wobbly and there was no stability.

“The injury restricted me from running for around six weeks. I was in a straight leg brace, which stopped me from bending my leg. I was in that for four weeks and then I was switched to a brace that allowed me to bend my leg to 90 degrees.

“That allowed me to start walking without crutches. So from that point; I was able to start rehab properly.

“All I was doing for the first six weeks was just lifting weights in the gym. After that, I was doing leg extensions.

“So, I spend weeks then after that trying to strengthen my leg and just because I am back fully training doesn’t mean I’ve stopped working on strengthening my leg. I have to be mindful that I have to keep on top of things and do my prehab to reduce the chance of getting a similar injury in the future.

Jaze Kabia after scoring for Shelbourne. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Jaze Kabia after scoring for Shelbourne. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

SLOW START

“It’s been difficult to get into the starting 11 since I have come back because the lads have been collecting some impressive results.

“We didn’t have the best of starts to the season but we have certainly got into our rhythm of late. We drew away to Celtic a few weeks ago 0-0 and that was an unbelievable experience.

“Everything about Celtic Park was amazing. The atmosphere on the day was deafening at times.

There is a real aura around the ground. It’s definitely the best ground I’ve been to. Ibrox is also brilliant but there is just something about Celtic Park. 

"Judging Celtic on the pitch; I do feel they have improved from last season and the new manager (Ange Postecoglou) does seem to have brought more intensity to their play and they are a better side.”

Douglas players, including Adam Idah and Jaze Kabia, after a Community Games match. Picture: Eddie O'Hare
Douglas players, including Adam Idah and Jaze Kabia, after a Community Games match. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

With Covid cases on the rise throughout the world, Kebia is wary of the effect the disease can have, having contracted the virus a few months back.

“We had a game called off already this season due to Covid. Hibs had 10 positive cases.

At the start of the season, there was an outbreak in our club. I caught the virus myself. I was so ill. It made it difficult for me to breathe.

“It affected me when I came back from it and started training again. I did struggle for breath in training sessions.

“It was a strange feeling because from what I can remember; I just felt ill in bed one day and thought I better do an antigen test, which returned a positive result.

“I obviously went for a PCR test and it was positive. I had most symptoms you could get from it.

“I had a sore head, sore eyes, all my limbs were sore, I was struggling to breathe, I had a bad cough and had a fever.

“The symptoms lasted for about 10 days. It was a scary experience.”

Ahead of the new 2022 League of Ireland season Kebia was full of praise for Cork City goalkeeper David Harrington and believes his close friend has a bright future in the game.

“Harry has had to be patient for his opportunity. I’m delighted he did so well when he got his chance.

“He would be one of my best mates, and I know how hard he works and that he is determined to prove himself in the game, so hopefully he gets the chance to show that next season.”

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