Monday, 6 February 2012

Kuala Lumpur relying on new signings to improve results

Kuala Lumpur hope to give debuts to two foreign players when they meet Kedah in a bottom-of-the-table Super League clash at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca on Wednesday.

Currently lying bottom with just one point from five matches, KL have agreed loan agreements with Kelantan for Lebanese forward Zakaria Charara and Ghanaian defender Emmanuel Okine and plan to register the duo with the FA of Malaysia on Wednesday morning, in time for the kick-off against Kedah.

Charara and Okine appeared in two friendly matches for KL last week and coach Razip Ismail is keen to have them on board as soon as possible.

"We desperately need to strengthen the team and I intend to deploy Charara in midfield because we already have a number of strikers. Okine's arrival could not be more timely because we have just lost our centre-back Aslam (Najumudeen) to a hamstring injury.

"They did well in the friendly games but it's now a question of how soon they can get used to their new teammates," said Razip after KL defeated Police 2-1 at the Police Training Centre ground in Jalan Semarak on Saturday for their first win in 17 competitive and friendly matches this season.

Razip believes Charara, 26, can form an effective midfield partnership with Syafiq Johari and the Lebanon international scored a penalty in each of KL's friendly games against Young Tigers B (3-3) and Police.

Okine, at 1.85m, proved a commanding presence in defence although the 20-year-old centre-back will have to adjust quickly to get use to playing alongside KL's vice-captain Ahmad Dashila Tajudin.

"Okine has only played one match against Police. He is a good organiser and commanding at the back. But Dashila found it difficult to play alongside him and we need to get them used to one another," added Razip.

In a further boost for KL, Stanley Bernard is expected to make his first appearance of the season against Kedah after recovering from a groin injury that delayed the start of his second-spell with his hometown team.

The former Sabah, UPB-MyTeam and Sporting Clube de Goa forward emerged unscathed from both warm-up games and is expected to be paired upfront with Afiq Azmi as KL seek their first league win.

Other than Aslam, KL's other injury concerns centre around midfielder Azrul Azmi, who is expected to be out for six weeks due to a groin tear, strikers Fazuan Abdullah (hamstring) and Badrul Hisyam Azmi (ankle), and winger Pritam Singh (hamstring).

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