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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Rhinos target Karlo


 KOTA KINABALU: Former Sime Darby FC striker Karlo Primorac is on the Sabah Rhinos radar. The Croatian former Under-21 player is one of the few names that Sabah Rhinos head coach Vjeran Simunic has in mind as he tries to bolster his attacking front with a clinical goal poacher. “We still need a target man.

We have already identified and negotiated with a few players, and if things go according to plan, they will be here soon,” said Simunic, when met at the team’s training at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex here yesterday. According to Simunic, he is looking for a player like former Perak striker Chad Souza or former Sime Darby FC and PKNS FC centre forward Karlo Primorac.

 For the record, Primorac scored 28 goals in his 31 appearances for Sime Darby in 2013. The following year, he donned Selangor PKNS FC colours and managed to score two goals in six appearances. “We need strong players like Chad Souza and Karlo Primorac and we have in mind already who that player is.

“For the time being, it is enough to say that we are negotiating with one famous target man who has played in Malaysia. Yesterday, five foreign players attended trials with the team, including former striker Marwan Sayedeh. The other four are former Sarawak striker Muamer Salibasic, former S-League outfit Balestier Khalsa FC defender Igor Cerina, former Perak midfielder Marco Tulio Lupes Silva and Indonesian midfielder Dedi Kusnandar.

 And it seems that three of them Cerina, 27, Marco Tulio, 34, and Dedi, 24, have impressed Simunic. That leaves the Croatian coach needing only one more player, preferably a powerful centre forward, to complete the four foreign players’ quota. “At this moment we got Cerina and now we have Marco Tulio. I think everything with him (Marco Tulio) is okay because we know who he is and he is famous in Malaysia and I tested him in Perak last year.

 “I think he is one whom this young (Sabah) team need because he is a playmaker…he makes organisation of the game. “This player … it is not easy to bring this high-profile player into the second division Premier League (but) we brought him here and I think if he passed the medical test and everything, I think it would be okay.

He added that Dedi could be an all-round player, operating as a box-to-box midfielder. Simunic went on to reveal that he is going to build the team around the local players. “I am still building my team and when I signed for Sabah, I said we have very good local players. “It is my focus to make a team from among Sabahan players as much as possible.

If I can get 80 per cent of Sabahan players I will be very happy. “The remaining 20 per cent will consist of (the four) foreign players and local imports, and I’m looking at getting the maximum of three,” he said. Team manager Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan and his two assistants James Wong and Hassan Sani were also at the team’s training where they played a friendly match against the Sabah Under-21 side. Deputy President II Datuk Lawrence Gimbang was also there.
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