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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Foreign signings ahead of deadline

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

 KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA is set to complete their four foreign signings well ahead of the deadline, which is on January 31. So far, they seemed to have found three. In fact, it is reliably learnt that both Croatian defender Igor Celina and Indonesian midfielder Dedi Kusnandar have already put pen to paper, while Brazilian playmaker Marco Tulio Lopez is set to follow suit.

 And now, Sabah Rhinos head coach Vjeran Simunic is still searching for a prolific striker to lead his attack with former KL Sime Darby FC striker Karlo Primorac in his mind. Former Perak striker Chad Souza is also on his radar. Simunic said he needs a reliable striker to lead the attack. “We need a quality striker to partner our local boys,” said Simunic when met at the team’s training yesterday.

“We almost have a complete squad. Now we only need a quality foreign striker as far as or the foreign quota is concerned,” said the 62-year-old Croatian. “I have two or three players in mind (striker), but now we are waiting for their arrival,” he added. On the local front, Sabah have signed 12 players, namely Julamri Muhammad, Alto Linus, Jenius Karib, Rawilson Batuil, Badrul Affendy, Maxsius Musa, Azzizan Nordin, Ricco Nigel Milus, Dendy Lowa, Rexjeson Pitirus, Leopold Alfonso Otong and Shafuan Shaari.

 Simunic is expected to sign a few more local as well as local imports soon. “Since my arrival here, I have already started to form a team and we are training very hard everyday. We train like the new season will kick off tomorrow. “Overall, I’m very happy with the commitment shown by the players, and more importantly, a majority of them are locals, which is good for the team.

 To a question, Simunic refused to make any promise that the team will win silverware at the end of the season. However, he assured that his charges will give their very best, which will delight the local fans. “We have quite a new-look side for this upcoming season with only a few experienced players. But I can say that there are quite a number of local young players who are hungry for success, which is good for the team.

 “I will not make any promise that the team will win silverware but I’m confident this new-look side will be able to attract the crowd back to the stadium,” he said.

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