THAT’S A PROMISE: Coach confirms defender will sign contract on return from national duty in Bahrain
ARMED Forces coach B. Sathianathan quashed rumours that his prized defender Amiridzwan Taj Tajudin would follow Shukor Adan in leaving the Super League outfit next season.
Taj, 27, had been linked with his home state Kelantan but Sathianathan said he obtained a commitment from the centre-back that he would remain with Forces for 2014.
Following the decision of former national team captain Shukor and goalkeeper Farizal Harun to move to Premier League side Felda United, losing Taj would have left Forces short-handed in defence.
But Taj is expected to sign on the dotted line when he returns from national team duty in Bahrain next week while Forces also look to bring in an Asian defender when three South Koreans and a Japanese arrive for trials later this month.
"Taj said before he left with the national team that he would sign after he returns from Bahrain," said Sathianathan yesterday. "He told me that he has not spoken to any other team and that he wants to continue to improve with Forces.
"For now I don't want to bother him while he is with the national team. I am not like some other coaches who will go to FAM (FA of Malaysia) and talk to players."
With Taj set to stay, Sathianathan will turn his attention to filling the void left by Shukor and Farizal.
It has also been reported that skipper Hairuddin Omar is on the verge of joining Felda though Sathianathan said no other player will be leaving Forces.
"I have three or four Asian defenders on my radar. Three South Koreans and a Japanese player will be arriving on Nov 24 for a trial. I will have a look at them and then decide.
"As for the goalkeeper, we have two lined up but I cannot name them yet until their existing contracts with their respective teams expire at the end of the month.
"Truthfully, there are only two really good goalkeepers in this country but neither Khairul Fahmi Che Mat or Farizal Marlias is available so I have to make do with whoever I can find.
"Aside from Shukor and Farizal, everyone else will be staying and we will begin pre-season training on Nov 21."
The Asian defender which Forces eventually sign will join striker Marlon Alex James of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Argentine midfielder Bruno Martelotto as the side's three foreign signings after the duo extended their contracts by a year for a third consecutive season with the team.
FORMER national team striker Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli signed a one-year deal with newly promoted Super League side Sarawak yesterday after being released by home state Kedah.
"Just signed a contact for a season with Sarawak," Akmal posted on Twitter. "I am happy to join a team on the rise. I am confident Sarawak can be one of the main challengers in the 2014 Super League."
Sarawak becomes 31-year-old Akmal's eighth club in a storied career after becoming a peripheral figure at Kedah, where he scored three goals in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup last season.
"Thanks to everyone on Twitter for your support," added Akmal, who plans to link up with the Sarawak team on Nov 27. "To Sarawak fans, I hope you receive me with open arms. God willing, I will contribute with all my ability and experience."