It’s a done deal!


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA will do what they can to get their former striker Zaykiel Leong to see Premier League action before the May transfer window.

Its Executive Secretary Harry Baking said he will be contacting the FA of Malaysia to find out whether it is possible for them to register the former Rhino striker ahead of the transfer window.

The FA believes they have a case to bring in Zaykiel earlier than May as they need a replacement for Hamidin Amat, who left the squad last month after the FA granted his request to be released from his contract due to personal problems.

Although the FA is yet to make any official announcement on Zaykiel’s comeback into the team, but the New Sabah Times Sport understands that negotiations between the FA and Zaykiel is believed to be a done deal!

Now the only question is how soon can the 28-year-old Zaykiel who has been seen training with the Rhinos, make his first appearance for the team since he left the squad about three years ago.

“Previously registration was open in the Malaysian League meaning we can add any player throughout the season.

“However, starting this season, the FAM have introduced the transfer window and we have to wait until May before we can register new players (apart from in the pre-season).

“I will have to refer the matter to FAM, whether we can have Zaykiel before the start of the transfer window,” said Harry when contacted yesterday.

In our report yesterday, Zaykiel stated his readiness to don the State colours again.

Early this season, he was also offered a place in the State team, but decided not to accept it due to work commitment.

But now Zaykiel is willing to sort that out with his employer as well as the FA.

Zaykiel is seen as the missing link in the Rhinos’ lightweight attack.

They only managed to score four goals after four games thus far, but conceded none.

Zainizam Marjan is the only experienced striker in the squad, backed up by several raw talents in the likes of Alto Linus and Azrul Ejati Damsah.

And if the FA fails in their bid then Zaykiel would have to wait until May before he could feature for the team with the Sarawak clash on May 4 being his possible return.

Before the May transfer window, Sabah will play five matches, including Friday’s home tie against Felda United.

After the home tie, the Rhinos play away to Melaka (May 16), against T-Team of Terengganu at home (May 23), away to PKNS FC (April 3) and home to Johor (April 13).

Zaykiel made his State team debut starting with the State Under-18 squad. He was also part of the State Reserve League squad that won the President’s Cup in 1999, but halfway through the season, he quit the team to attend a course in pharmacy.

He then made a return to the State team by signing for the senior side in 2003 until 2005.

He was also an influential player for Beverly FC when the club side emerged runners-up in the FAM Cup in 2007.

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