TERENGGANU could be left fighting for honours this season with just one foreign player after the registration of Mohamadou Suamareh ran into trouble with the FA of Malaysia (FAM).
Gambian striker Suamareh, formerly of Gambian second division club Serrekunda United, is only 19 years old and his lack of experience and credentials is a concern and has not passed FAM's vetting of foreign players.
FAM has strict regulations over the signing of foreign players and one of the criteria is if the player comes from an African country, he must have played in the top-flight, a rule Suamareh does not satisfy.
If that is not bad enough, sources claim coach Mat Zan Mat Aris has privately expressed doubts of the player's ability after having the youngster thrust upon his team by desperate Terengganu FA officials who only completed the signing of Suamareh on transfer deadline day on Dec 8.
Suamareh gave a mixed performance against a poor Kuala Lumpur side in a friendly on Saturday in Taman Melati, scoring once and missing a penalty in FA Cup champions Terengganu's 2-1 win.
Terengganu recovered from going behind to Afiq Azmi's strike early on to equalise through Brazilian midfielder Tercio Nunes Machado's penalty before Suamareh scored the winner going into the break.
Mat Zan, however, believes he has enough firepower in the squad should he be left with just Machado as his only import.
"The locals we have are just as good and we have more than enough cover in the strike force. We have our top scorer from last season Hadi Yahya still with us and Manaf Mamat and Ashaari Samsudin can also play a central role.
"Ailim Fahmi is another potential candidate, so we are quite secure upfront," said Mat Zan, returning to Terengganu having led the state to their first and only Malaysia Cup win in 2000.
Terengganu have also been strengthened by the signing of Young Tigers A trio of Muslim Ahmad, Abdul Shukor Jusoh and Faizal Muhammad, Sabah midfielder Hariri Safii and T-Team's Shamsul Kamal Mohamed.