Abu Bakar looking for 2 more imports to strengthen PKNP FC

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Abu Bakar Fadzim, PKNP FC
Losing 4 stalwarts is not ideal but Abu Bakar Fadzim is confident that PKNP FC can find the right replacements ahead of the 2018 Super League.

The football club have gone through a meteoric rise up the ladder of Malaysian football. It twist of fate ensured that PKNP gained their second promotion in successive season which will see them compete in the Super League in 2018.

After coming up from the FAM League in 2017, PKNP shocked many observers with their consistency and only narrowly missed out on automatic promotion, finishing one point behind Terengganu in third place in the Premier League.

However, problems with Felda United and T-Team FC meant that together with Negeri Sembilan, PKNP will start the new 2018 campaign in the top tier of Malaysian football. The promotion meant that Abu Bakar Fadzim, the head coach of PKNP working hard to ensure that his team can be ready for the new challenge.

"For now we have filled 28 slots with two more import slots for us to fill. We are currently looking for a striker and a centre back to complete the squad. Those positions are the important ones for us because we have lost 3 key players up front in Gilberto (Valdenesio), Kim (Hyeon-Woo) and Shahrel (Fikri)."

"This is a big job for us and a hard one for PKNP to reduce our deficiencies. I hope that we can find the right balance ahead of next season," said Abu Bakar after the friendly match against PKNS FC last Saturday.

So far PKNP have retained the services of Latvian Ritus Krajauklis, adding to their squad with the signing of Cambodian Keo Sokpheng and South Korean Yeon Gi-Sung. 

The players that will not be part of PKNP's team for the new season includes Gilberto (Felda United), Kim (Terengganu FC), Syazwan Zaipol (Perak) and Shahrel Fikri.

In the friendly against PKNS, Abu Bakar trialed a whole host of imports which also included Singaporean midfielder, Hafiz Sujad. Although Abu Bakar seemed rather reluctant to use two ASEAN players in his squad.

"For the Asian slot, we already have Sokpheng who can play as the attacking midfield. Which is why we need the other two to be in defence and two more in attack. We have signed three now. Because we also lost Zaipol who returned to Perak, we need another to partner Ritus at the heart of the defence."

"We will compete and we'll improve game by game. About 70% of the squad are ones that were with us in the Premier League and my main job is to ensure that they adapt quickly to the higher division. They have to come out of the shell and that is what we want to achieve by having so many friendly matches," added Abu Bakar.

PKNP's next friendly match is on the 30th against Felda, that will be played in Bangi. That would be followed by more friendlies against PKNS again, Kedah and MISC-MIFA before the new campaign kicks off in February.