Covic joins Swedish club

Newcastle's win over Hyundai Ulsan in Tuesday night's Asian Champions League match has been dampened by the news goalkeeper Ante Covic will leave the club this week to take up a contract in Sweden.

Newcastle's win over Hyundai Ulsan in Tuesday night's Asian Champions League match has been dampened by the news goalkeeper Ante Covic will leave the club this week to take up a contract in Sweden.

Covic broke the news to his team-mates after the 2-0 win over Ulsan, with the tall custodian due to fly out on Thursday to start a three-year deal with Swedish premiership club IF Elfsborg.

Covic, who enjoyed a stint in Sweden with Hammarby, described his decision to leave the Jets in the middle of their ACL campaign as 'bittersweet'.

"It is disappointing in a way because I have been with these boys for a while and even the new boys, they are all fantastic and I am grateful they are all happy for me including the coaching staff," Covic told Sportal.

"They all understand the reasons why I decided to go there and they all wish me the best and that is the best compliment I can hope for."

The 33-year-old former Socceroo explained he was in contract talks with the Jets but decided to take up Elfborg's offer when Newcastle failed to meet his expectations to re-sign.

"Negotiations (with the Jets) weren't stalling but I felt they were getting further apart than what we talked about originally and that is the reason I didn't sign earlier and it (the Swedish deal) came about," he said.

"In a way it is unfortunate but something came up very recently and it was an offer too good to refuse."

"I think you put any professional football player in my position and they would have done the same thing."

"I am going to a great club in Sweden, they are playing UEFA Cup. They finished second last year and won the competition the year before. They have a lot of potential and are playing 35-40 games per season and they are playing in an established league that has been going on for a long time."

"When you weigh all that up and a three-year deal it was just too difficult to refuse for me and my family."

Covic, who has a Swedish wife, said it would be difficult to leave the city of Newcastle and its golden beaches to return to the cold of Sweden but he was proud of his time with the club.

"I got a premiership which was great," he said. "It was disappointing the way we finished last season but you can't take the premiership away and it was good to finish on a high like tonight."

"Newcastle is back in the game in the Champions League and I wish all the very best to each and every player in the club and to our coaching staff and I hope they go all the way in the Champions League."

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond said the club would hand reserve goalkeeper Ben Kennedy the gloves for the rest of the Jets' ACL campaign.

The Jets next match is an away fixture to Japanese club Grampus in three weeks time.