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Sunday, January 17, 2016

FA continues search for quality striker

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

 KOTA KINABALU: Sabah FA is forced to go on hunting for a top striker again after they decided not to tie up former KL Sime Darby FC’s Croatian hitman Karlo Primorac. Its Deputy President II Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said they are left with no choice but to look for a quality goal poacher after finding out that Karlo is carrying an injury.

 “We will not sign him. He is injured,” Gimbang said, without elaborating (on Karlo’s injury). “So now, we have to look for a new target. In fact, we are expecting two players (one from Ivory Coast and the other from Nigeria) to come for trials with the team next week, and we expect them to be here on Tuesday,” he added.

 It is believed that the Ivory Coast striker, who can also be deployed in midfield, has been identified as Gosse Gui Serge Roland. The 27-year-old is 1.90m-tall and last played for Yanbian, a club in the Chinese League. As for the Nigerian, he is little known, and said to be Jackson Victor Ogheneochuko.

 If any of the two could impress the Sabah FA Selectors, especially its head coach Vjeran Simunic, then it would complete Sabah’s foreign quota signing. They have already settled for a Croatian defender Igor Celina, Brazilian midfielder Marco Tulio Gomez and Indonesian utility player Dedi Kusnandar, who filled in the Asian slot.

 In a related development, Gimbang said they have signed former Kelantan defender Nazri Ahmad. The 26-year-old Selangor-born player penned an undisclosed one-year deal. He is the third local import to have signed for the Sabah Rhinos. The other three are midfielder Shafuan Shaari and goalkeeper Mohamad Fadzley Abdul Rahim, who played for Sarawak in the Super League last season.

 The FA has also tied up five more local players, including its former midfielder Radzi Hussin. Umareng Bacok from Sandakan, who played for the State President’s Cup squad the last three seasons, has also been given a one-year contract so as his former teammate Muhammad Mohd Safar. Pitas man Shafie Talip too will make it into the squad. Goalkeeper Aldrian J. Augus from Keningau will also be part of the team this season.

 With the latest development, the FA has tied up 22 players for the new season, which is scheduled to kick off on February 12. The rest that have already signed their contracts are Leopold Alfonso Otong, Azzizan Nordin, Maxsius Musa, Badrul Affendy, Rawilson Batuil, Jenius Karib, Alto Linus, Julamri Muhammad, Ricco Nigel Milus, Dendy Lowa and Rexjeson Pitirus.

 Including a foreign striker, the FA is still looking for a goalkeeper and could also be lured to add more personnel to their backline if they can find the right player. For the record, this season, each team is allowed to register 30 players, including four foreign signings. The deadline for registration is on Jan 31.

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