KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is close to snapping former national striker Stanley Bernard Samuel, who is currently without a club after his recent short stint with Indonesian Super League outfit Persibo Bojonegoro.
If everything goes according to plan, the Sabah FA is likely to get their man as early as next Wednesday. In fact it is only a case of putting pen to paper, as both sides have agreed on terms of a deal, albeit verbally.
This was confirmed by Kuala Lumpur-born Stanley when contacted by the New Sabah Times Sports yesterday.
“I’m pretty much excited about the move because I have heard good things about the team this season. Furthermore, I’m happy with what they are offering me, and now it is only about signing the contract, which I haven’t done, said the 23-year-old Stanley before revealing that he will be coming here on Nov 9.
“Another reason why I decided to take this offer is because I want to work and play under a good coach, and I know he is a good coach,” said Stanley referring to Sabah coach cum manager Gary Phillips.
He also revealed that it was Gary, the man that guided Sabah to Super League promotion in his first year in charge, who approached and offered him to come and play for Sabah.
While not many may know this little known striker, but he is no stranger to the national side having represented the country from the age group level before moving up the ranks.
He was attached to the Bukit Jalil Sports School for three years during his teenage days before making his senior debut for Kuala Lumpur at the age of 18.
After donning his home team colours, he signed for UPM-MyTeam and played for a season with the club side in 2009.
Unfortunately for Stanley, the club side decided to pull out from the just concluded M-League that prompted him to make a bold move and attend trials with Indian I-League side Sporting Clube de Goa.
He did that on his own, forking out his own hard-earned money, but his effort was rewarded as he earned a contract with the club side (last November).
After his contract ended with the Indian outfit (last July – 2010), Stanley bravely headed to Indonesia where he managed to secure a contract with Indonesian Super League outfit Persibo Bojonegoro (in August).
But due to some technicality problem, his stay was cut short, and was left without a club until the offer came from Sabah.
Stanley is one of the more than half a dozen players Gary has been luring as he tries to reinforce his side to face the new challenge in the Super League where Sabah will be featuring after a lapse of five years.
Besides Stanley, former Sabah striker Jeremy Danker Matthew will also be coming here for trials and is expected to be here anytime now.
Gary is also targeting a goalkeeper, and a few defenders as well as midfielders or wide players, but the Aussie was tight-lipped when asked on his targets.
So far, Gary has already signed two former Sabah players in Zuraindey Jumai, a midfielder, who played for Perlis the last two seasons, and former national Sumardi Hajalan, a left-back player, but who could also play in midfield.
The State team resumed their training for the new season since Monday at the Likas Stadium.