KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Football Association has reinforced its squad with another four new signings yesterday, to make it six thus far, but the hunt for a goalkeeper and preferably a defensive player still continues.
Jeremy Danker Matthew, who played for Sabah during the Jose Garrido’s era, is among the four, who has agreed to don Sabah colours next season.
The striker joined from Kuala Lumpur.
Another three are Stanley Bernard Samuel, Safuan Ibrahim and M. Sivakumar. Among the four, Stanley seems to be the notable signings.
The latter is a former national Under-23 striker and also has the experience of playing abroad after signing for Sporting Clube de Goa of India featuring in the Indian top league, the I-League.
He also had a short stint with Indonesian Super League outfit Persibo Bojonegoro.
But prior to his daring move to India last year, Stanley, 23, played for UPB-MyTeam in the Super League joining them from his home team Kuala Lumpur.
The little known Safuan is a striker from Kelantan who last played for Johor FC.
He was also part of the Kelantan side that emerged as the President’s Cup champions a few years ago by defeating Selangor.
As for M. Sivakumar, he joined from Johor FC and is a defensive player who can play at the backline or in midfield.
Earlier, the FA welcomed back two of its former players midfielder Zuraindey Jumai and Sumardi Hajalan.
Zuraindey played two seasons for Perlis while Sumardi, who can play at the left back or in midfield, played five seasons with Johor FC since 2006.
A delighted Sabah coach and manager Gary Phillips said: “We have signed some more players today, and will still be looking to secure one or two more to complete the squad.”
“Goalkeeper Syed Adney (Syed Hussein), from Kelantan, should be arriving to meet us on Monday, and if all goes well, we hope to sign him immediately, possibly on Tuesday.
“For players in the attacking position, we have Stanley Bernard, Zainizam Marjan, Mohd Farid Ideris and Safuan.
“But Safuan said he prefers to play as an attacking midfielder but can also play as a striker if I need him at the front.
With all the offensive signings, next season, when Sabah return to the Super League, Gary will have plenty of ammunition, as besides those names mention above, he still has Razlan Otto and youngster Leopold Alfonso Otong.
“These two strikers, if they are willing to work harder and keep improving, they can fight for a place in the first team or at least place their names in the start-list,” Gary stressed
With the six new signings, the FA released six players. Three are already released; Zaykiel Leong, Billyton Vun Ket Ming and Zaykiel Leong.
Another three players are to follow suit.
“Those who are likely to be left out of the squad are Hardy Charles Parsi and Mohd Farid Saibun. But we will talk to them to see if they can get a place in the Premier League so they can continue to play football.
“Madzalan Emoi is also one that is unlikely to be one of our players (for the new season), but I’m thinking of taking him as a coaching staff for the team,” said Gary.
The deal is believed to be between one year, with another year as an option, and two years.
The FA Treasurer AR Haji Shahriman Abdullah was also present at the contract signing ceremony at the FA’s office yesterday.