Saturday, April 14, 2012
Perak dump Popovic for Bodjongo
PERAK have dumped misfiring striker Lazar Popovic and signed little-known Cameroonian Albert Bodjongo who they hope to debut against Sabah in a Super League match in Kota Kinabalu today.
Team manager Khairul Azwan Harun made the announcement in Ipoh yesterday after failing in their pursuit of Guinean Keita Mandjou, whose Indian club Pune refused to release him ahead of Monday's transfer deadline.
Popovic failed to score a single goal for Perak and his last game for Norizan Bakar's squad turned out to be Tuesday's 2-1 defeat to league leaders Singapore LionsXII at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Bodjongo was initially on trial with Negri Sembilan, who decided to keep faith with Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona, before Perak moved in to snap the former Coton Sport player.
The 22-year-old Cameroonian however is more of a defensive midfielder which suggests that Norizan may deploy Michal Kubala in a more offensive role with Slovakian having scored seven goals in all competitions.
Perak have won just once in their last seven league outings and that solitary win came against basement side Kuala Lumpur last weekend as their bright start to the season, when they briefly led the standings, has fallen away.
Results in the next four games against Sabah (home and away), Terengganu (away) and Selangor (home) will determine if Norizan still has a future with Perak.
LionsXII, on a four-match winning streak, will attempt to extend their six-point lead over Kelantan when they visit Petaling Jaya to face PKNS.
The Singaporeans have built a sizeable lead after playing three games more than their closest rivals due to the fact that they will be involved in the AFC Under-22 Championship qualifiers in June.
Kelantan are boosted by their 3-1 AFC Cup win over Indonesia's Arema in Malang on Tuesday when coach Bojan Hodak opted to rest several key players before they tackle T-Team in Kota Baru today.
The likes of skipper Badhri Radzi and Norfarhan Muhammad did not even travel to Malang while Onyekchi Nwoha and Obinna Nwaneri were left on the bench.
Selangor travel to Pasir Gudang, the scene of their FA Cup penalty shootout exit by Johor FC, without captain Amri Yahyah, who is suspended after scoring his first two league goals of the season in last week's 6-1 rout of Terengganu.
Coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim may push Safiq Rahim into a more offensive role or bring R. Surendren into the starting line up to partner Bosko Balaban.