Football

Published: Saturday July 12, 2014 MYT 8:23:00 PM
Updated: Saturday July 12, 2014 MYT 11:33:27 PM

JDT coach Hodak kills big-name signing rumours

Contrary to rumours, ex-Chelsea player Samuel Eto'o will not be playing for Johor Darul Ta'zim next season. - AFP

Contrary to rumours, ex-Chelsea player Samuel Eto'o will not be playing for Johor Darul Ta'zim next season. - AFP

PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) manager Bojan Hodak has denied rumours that they are looking at signing former Chelsea duo Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba next season.

JDT were expected to bolster the team with big name signing after qualifying to the 2015 AFC Champions League qualifying tournament.

The Southern Tigers have four foreign players - Brazilian centreback Marcos Santos, Singaporean midfielder Hariss Harun and Argentine strikers Luciano Figueroa and Jorge Pereyra Diaz - in their ranks currently.

The Croatian coach said that big name signings does not guarantee success in the AFC Champions League.

“It’s the World Cup season... every other player will be linked to a big transfer and big name players like Drogba and Eto’o will sell newspaper when linked to a new team,” said Hodak.

“But its just rumours and our current foreign players are on two-year contracts so there are no plans to sign new players at the moment.

“I personally don’t think that three or four players can make a big difference in the AFC Champions League. We actually need the whole team to be at a certain level and our local players needs to be better.

No Malaysian team have ever played in the AFC Champions League, which was first introduced by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in 2002.

JDT will compete in the qualifying tournament in February. If they fail to make the tournament proper, they will compete in the second-tier AFC Cup.

“The Champions League is a higher level of a competition and to be honest it will be a struggle for South East Asian sides. The gap between the teams in the region are quite wide at the moment,” said Hodak.

“The Champions League play-offs will give us the opportunity to play with the better teams in the region and it will be a learning curve for us.”

Tags / Keywords: Bojan Hodak, football, JDT, AFC Champions League, Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba

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