Thursday, 8 December 2011

Malaysian league teams struggling to sign foreign players before deadline

Kuala Lumpur find themselves in a quandary as a Ghanaian midfielder the Super League side are keen to sign has overstayed his visa with today being the deadline for registration of players for the 2012.  

Jacob Anderson, who last played for Planet FC in Ghana, is technically an illegal alien and cannot play in the domestic league until he resolves his status.

This is has left KL in a pickle and general secretary Nokman Mustaffa admitted Anderson's situation has caught them by surprise.

"We are very keen on signing Anderson but his visa has lapsed and he needs to sort it out with the Immigration Department. We've told him that if this is not resolved, there is no way we can sign him.

"We already have one foreign player and we have another on standby if we can't sign Anderson," said Nokman yesterday.

KL plan to sign Nigerian centre-back Raimi Hassan today and should the Anderson deal fall through, French-Tunisian midfielder Mehdi Tagawa may be drafted in after impressing in a 2-0 friendly defeat to Armed Forces at the KLFA Academy in Taman Melati on Tuesday.

The city team are by no means the only team in the Super League scrambling to sign players ahead of the deadline.
Selangor are desperate to find a replacement for Congolese striker Blaise Lelo Mbele, who turned out to be injured just as he was about to put pen to paper.

Perak have settled on Lazar Popovic from Serbia and Michal Kubala from Slovakia while Kedah and Johor FC are assessing their options and may go for Brazilian signings.

Premier League side Armed Forces, the nouveau riche of Malaysian football, is not in such a rush however after coach B. Sathianathan went for the tried and tested in bringing back former Kedah hitman Marlon Alex James and ex-MPPJ playmaker Bruno Martelotto.

Sathianathan did not want to risk hiring unproven foreigners given that there is little time to test the players.

"I know these players, I have already seen them and I was at MPPJ when Bruno was playing there. When you want to hire a foreign player, you need a series of games to assess them.

"Just watching them in two or three friendly matches is not enough. Marlon and Bruno already know what it is like to play here, they know the climate and Malaysian football.

"I am confident they can fit in easily with the local players. Bruno is the fetch-and-carry player I need and have been looking for and with his vision and scoring ability, he will be a good addition to the team," said Sathianathan after overseeing his side's 2-0 friendly win over KL.

The 35-year-old James from St Vincent and the Grenadines has a proven track record after his goals fired Kedah to the treble in 2007 and 2008 before the ban on foreign players saw him join Vancouver Whitecaps in the US Major League Soccer before taking 2011 off.

Argentine Martelotto, who joins from Chilean side Santiago Morning, won the Malaysia Cup in 2003 and the Premier League in 2004 in a three-year stint with MPPJ which ended in 2005.

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