BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Fans and observers of Malaysian football on Friday was shocked by the news that Selangor forward Forkey Doe has been detained by the Malaysian police.
He was reportedly arrested for driving a cloned, or unregistered, car on Thursday, and is set to be sidelined by the Red Giants boss Maniam Pachaiappan in their away Super League match against Sarawak this Tuesday.
The club has also issued a statement saying that the Liberian's future with them now depends on the investigation, which means that Doe may be on his way out should he be found guilty in the case.
The news could not have come at a worse time for the management of Selangor, who already has a major decision to make in the coming mid-season transfer window; whether to drop one of their current foreign players to make way for Indonesia star Andik Vermansyah who is returning from his injury, or to retain the current crop and cut Andik loose instead.
If one of them has to be dropped, then the likely candidates are between East Timorese attacker Juliano Mineiro, or Romanian midfielder Victor Astafei, who can both play as wingers and were signed before the start of the season, around the same time Andik suffered his ACL injury.
But the newcomers have been making sure that the management will face a tough choice to make come decision time, having performed equally-well, if a little inconsistent, for the Red Giants so far. Mineiro has bagged five goals, while Astafei has scored three in the league.
But now with the prospect of having to terminate Doe's contract looming large (an equally tough decision to make for sure, as Doe is their current joint top-scorer having also scored five goals), Maniam will also have to start searching for his replacement. The cash-strapped club will also have to source for funds to sign his replacement.
Forkey Doe. Photo by Hazrin Mohd Zaidun/CSN
Some have suggested that the Andik-Astafei-Mineiro quandary may be solved should Doe is found guilty and his contract is terminated, with Andik simply taking the Liberian's place in the squad, but that is hardly workable.
If this is done, Maniam will have three wingers in the squad with no reliable target man. Young striker Adam Nor Azlin has only scored once despite having made 10 appearances, while pre-season local signing Afiq Azmi seems to be out of the Selangor boss' favour. A foreign target man is undoubtedly what the Red Giants need if they are serious about achieving their target of finishing the season in a top three position.
With the transfer window scheduled to be opened on May 15 and closed on June 11, Maniam has very little time to weigh his options.
One feasible target could be current Premier League top-scorer UiTM FC's Nigerian forward Akanni-Sunday Wasiu, who has 12 goals to his name already this season. Plus, the club are an affiliate of the Selangor FA (FAS), a fact that should facilitate negotiations.
And if Selangor do decide to let go of the Liberian and find a replacement, maybe a new clause should be introduced in the new signing's contract; no travelling in cars apart from the one provided by FAS to the player.