BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
With all three of Selangor's new foreign signings finally arriving for the Red Giants' pre-season training over the weekend, head coach Maniam Pachaiappan is floored by the potential that they have shown.
Indonesian duo Evan Dimas Darmono and Ilham Udin Armaiyn arrived in Malaysia last Friday following a protracted dispute between the club and the Indonesian FA (PSSI), while Brazilian centre back Willian Pacheco joined his first training with the Red Giants on Monday. Coincidentally, all three players played in Indonesia's Liga 1 in 2017; Evan and Ilham for champions Bhayangkara FC, and the defender for Persija Jakarta.
When met by the press before conducting training on Tuesday, Maniam said he is impressed by the new arrivals; particularly Evan and the towering Pacheco.
"He (Pacheco) is not just tall, but he's also fast. Tall players are normally slower, but he reads the situation quickly and is rather pacey. This is one advantage had by Pacheco.
"I think Dimas will be a worthy signing. His passes are accurate," revealed Maniam enthusiastically.
The former Selangor player added that Evan and Ilham's fitness levels are also good, as the two of them had been playing for the Indonesia national team in the 2017 Aceh World Solidarity Tsunami Cup in early December.
"Their fitness levels shouldn't be a problem as they had been playing in international matches.
"But Willian's situation is a bit different, as he told me he has only done 30 to 40 per cent of pre-season training, so yesterday (Monday) we pushed him a little. If tomorrow he can play for 60 or 70 minutes, that'll be good," he remarked.
According to the former AirAsia FC head coach, while he has no doubt that the three will be able to contribute to the team in the coming season, what will ultimately aid their transition is how they get along with the rest of the team.
"They will contribute when they play with us. They are at another level when they are with us.
"They have to continue doing positive things and be very close with the local players, as team building is of the upmost importance," noted Maniam.
On Wednesday, Selangor will take on Terengganu FC II in a friendly match at the Sime Darby FC training ground in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. The match is scheduled to kick off at 8.30 pm.