Baxter influenced Jaakkola’s SA move

Kaizer Chiefs

Jaakkola was last on the books of Scottish Premier League outfit Kilmarnock FC prior to his move to the Urban Warriors.

In 2010, he was called up by Stuart Baxter to represent Finland for European Championship qualifiers, as a replacement for the injured Peter Enckelman, although he did not see any game-time.

After Baxter stepped down as Finland coach, Jaakkola was called up by Mixu Paatelainen, and earned one Finnish international cap, from a 5-0 loss to Sweden in June 2011, in which Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick.

“My move to SA came through an agent, obviously I was still without a team and I was looking at the options I had and a few another options,” Jaakkola says.

“I was speaking to a few people and asked if coming down here was the best option and I was assured its good option.

“Among other people that I spoke with is Stuart Baxter, who assured me this was a good league.”

The 26-year-old had stints at then-Serie A club Siena (now in Serie B) and Kilmarnock, among others, but saw little game-time at both. He is hoping all that will change this season.

“Obviously I came down here to compete to play, that’s my target, I had a little bit of bad luck in my previous team and didn’t get a lot of game-time, so I came down here to prove myself again.

“I want to show the people that are doubting me that I can still play at the highest level and try to go back to Europe.”

Jaakkola also shared his thoughts on the standard of the Premiership, saying: “So far, from what I’ve seen, the South African League is a very good, competitive league, lots of young players which is good because it means that these players will grow up and the League will be more difficult.

“Players here are also very skilful, tactical and there are a lot of good coaches like Muhsin [Ertugral] here and Baxter.”

“Overall it’s a good league, if I can compare it to the Scottish Premier League, and I don’t see much of a difference.

“Cape Town is a beautiful place to be for any footballer ... I will also send out a few recommendations because the weather down here is really good!”

With two turnouts already for Ajax this season, Jaakkola will hope to continue to keep out Sean Roberts, Brandon Petersen and Stefan van Neel, who are all competing for the number one jersey at Ikamva.