Monday, 6 February 2012

Selangor hopes veteran Croatian striker Bosko Balaban will boost their attack

Selangor, who have been unimpressive since the start of the season, have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of former top Croatian striker Bosko Balaban.

The former Super League champions signed the 34-year-old, once ranked by England's the Times newspaper as one of Aston Villa's 50 worst signings, on a one year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The Selangor FA (FAS) offered Balaban  a contract following a strong recommendation from coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim.

Balaban, who arrived in Kuala Lumpur last Monday, played for 57 minutes against the national Olympic team in a friendly two days later and despite an average performance, Irfan Bakti was happy with the striker.

The Croatian will be  the replacement for injured Congolese international Lelo Mbele, whose contract was terminated recently.

Balaban's signing is  seen as a desperate move by  FAS, who is  in need of  a star attraction to boost gate collection and win titles.

FAS secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin is  confident Balaban will be able to  solve Selangor's scoring problems.

"He is ready to bring his own experience and  energy into the fantastic challenge that as a football club we're facing,"  said Hamidin yesterday.

"Irfan Bakti and the team management gave a good review of  Balaban and we signed him immediately. We are confident he will be instrumental this season."

Selangor,  fifth in the league standings with eight points from five matches,  play Singapore's LionsXII at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Wednesday.

"We are still waiting for Balaban's International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and only then will he be able to play against Lions," added Hamidin.

Balaban had previously  played for several top clubs in Europe including Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb and Belgium's Club Brugge. He also had a stint with Aston Villa but only made nine
appearances between between 2001-2003. He  was also not fielded in any of Croatia's matches in the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

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