BY DARREN GOON Follow on Twitter
Penang have confirmed the signings of defenders Varathan a/l Arumugam and Mat Saiful Mohamad from Sabah and PBAPP FC respectively. Varathan is a right-back, while Mat Saiful can play as a left-back or central defender.
Both players were signed to add more depth to a squad which has seen wingers Rafiuddin Roddin and Yong Kuong Yong covering in defence this season due to injuries and suspension.
The islanders are also set to recruit Brazilian forward Luiz Ricardo Lino Dos Santos, who was spotted at the home game against JDT II FC on 4th April.
Angolan striker Titi Buengo was expected to be the player replaced by Dos Santos, but he has responded by scoring four goals in three games. Fellow import forward Lee Gil-Hoon has also scored in three consecutive games; while Dos Santos’ compatriot Hilton Moreira has been sidelined for the last three matches with a knee injury, so he may be the player to be dropped. According to the club, team officials were in a meeting about this predicament last night, with their decision yet to be announced at time of writing.
In terms of departures, 2013 FAM League-winning goalkeeper Hairol Fazreen Abu Hassan has left for Super League side Perak on a permanent transfer after finding playing opportunities limited. According to team manager Mohd Azizudin Mohd Shariff’s Facebook post, Hairol’s contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Initially the only team in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) without foreign players, PBAPP FC have changed their minds after eight losses in eleven games, and have signed four: Luis Silvah Ochaya, Boris Kochkin, Kaye Edrisar, and Alexander Becerra.
Ochaya is a Ugandan forward who last played for Proline FC in the Ugandan Super League, while his 23-year old compatriot Kaye Edrisar is a familiar face on these shores, having turned out for USM FC (in 2012) and PDRM (in 2013).
Russian midfielder Boris Kochkin represented Pahang in the Super League in 2012, while central defender Alexander Becerra is a 21-year old Australian who played in Liberia before arriving in Penang.
Another new signing for PBAPP FC is former-national player Rosdi Talib. The veteran full-back, known for his service for Pahang and Terengganu, appears to have come out of retirement in a new role as a defensive midfielder.
The team’s new signings helped them to their first league win of the season, beating Sabah 1-0 at City Stadium on 11th April. Currently five points from safety at the bottom of the MPL, PBAPP FC will need many more victories if they are to escape relegation this season.