BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
JOHOR DARUL TA'ZIM (JDT)
Brazilian forward Paulo Rangel, recently signed by the Southern Tigers by owner Tunku Ismail Ibrahim and expected to by many to play for Malaysian Super League (MSL) side JDT which will be playing in AFC Champions League qualifiers next month, has reportedly been placed with the club's Malaysian Premier League (MPL) side JDT II instead. The news was confirmed by TMJ in a meet-and-greet session with the media and fans on Wednesday.
In the session, Tunku Ismail said that Rangel is a good player, but he may be too attached to his previous teams' philosophies. To that end, Rangel will be placed with JDT II or even loaned out to another club.
The 31-year-old striker has not responded to the news, but fans on social media have started predicting that the temperamental former Selangor and Terengganu player will not take the decision well.
The Red Warriors' chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa announced on Wednesday evening that they now have all the foreign signings they need for the 2016 season, with the signing of three more foreign players. Two of them, former PDRM striker Dramane Traore and former AS Roma midfielder Jonatan Lucca have been on their radar since early this month, but the latest player is Macedonia international Baže Ilijoski. The 31-year-old striker has played for Macedonian side FK Rabotnički, Korea's Incheon United, and Bangkok Glass.
They will join Kelantan's only foreign player retained from last season, midfielder Jonathan McKain.
Annuar wrote on his Facebook page that the trio have accepted the 1+1 year contracts offered, and they, along with the rest of the squad, will be introduced during their home preseason friendly match against Kuala Lumpur.
Free agent Azidan Sarudin is reportedly close to signing with his boyhood club, Premier League side Kuala Lumpur (KL), according to the Sinar Harian. KL head coach Ismail Zakaria told the daily that they are in the middle of negotiations, but are still working out the details due to problems with Azidan's fitness. Azidan is a product of the KL youth academy, and he began his senior career there, from 2006 to 2010.
The 29-year-old midfielder has been left without a club after he was let go by Pahang after the end of the 2015 season, and another of his former club Selangor then decided against hiring him again due to concerns for his fitness. Last July, he suffered a lengthy anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury at a time when he was playing an important role in Pahang's campaign, commanding the Elephant's midfield.
The City Boys meanwhile are looking to improve on their fortune this season, by signing former players of top teams, including Selangor's Thamil Arasu, Terengganu's Helmi Remeli and ATM's Mario Karlovic. It seems that they have learnt their lesson, after almost being relegated back to the FAM League after the 2015 season. They were only saved by LionsXII's exit from the MSL.