Covic in for Velaphi at Victory

Melbourne Victory have snared international goalkeeper Ante Covic on a one-year deal with incumbent Tando Velaphi to miss 6-10 weeks with a leg fracture.

Melbourne Victory have snared international goalkeeper Ante Covic on a one-year deal with incumbent Tando Velaphi to miss 6-10 weeks with a leg fracture.

Victory have moved quickly to sign the 36-year-old, who won a championship with Newcastle Jets in 2007-08 and has since spent the past couple of seasons at Swedish outfit Elfsborg.

Covic, who was part of the Australian World Cup squad in 2006, felt it was the right time for his family to move back to Australia and jumped at the opportunity to join Victory.

"As a family we felt it was the right move for us. Melbourne Victory is a great club and they have been very successful, so the opportunity to come back now was the perfect fit," he said.

"Every Aussie that plays overseas keeps an eye on the A-League and wants it to succeed. So it is great to come back and be part of it and you couldn't ask for a better start to the season than this Saturday night against Sydney FC."

Velaphi suffered a stress fracture of the tibia and will be sidelined for the first third of the season.

Melbourne Victory football director, Francis Awaritefe, said the club had to work fast to get Covic, who is likely to start in Saturday's season opener against Sydney FC.

"We're thrilled to have Ante join the club." he said. "With Tando (Velaphi) going down on the eve of the season, it was vital we find a top-line replacement and Ante-s record speaks for itself."

"Tando has come on in leaps and bounds since he arrived in Melbourne and it's a terrible blow for him, but we're hopeful he'll be back sooner rather than later."

"In Ante we have a highly experienced goalkeeper, and subject to international clearance, will slot straight into the team, which, considering the season is only a matter of days away, is a huge bonus."