Ex-Forces striker Marlon James (centre) recently quit the team having failed to fully recover from a knee injury. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Armed Forces striker Marlon James reckons that his replacement – Haitian Fabrice Noel – will be a hit in the Super League.
St Vincent and the Grenadines forward James, last season’s Golden Boot winner with 16 goals, has quit the team after failing to shrug off a chronic knee injury.
Without James spearheading the attack, the Gladiators could only chalk up three wins out of 14 matches to land up second from bottom in the 12-team Super League.
James, who played against Noel four years ago in Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States, believes the Haitian has the quality to lead Forces’ strike force.
The 28-year-old Noel has vast experience. He last featured for San Antonio Scorpions in the second tier of American soccer – North American Soccer League – before signing for Forces. He also played for Shanghai East Asia in the Chinese Super League in 2010.
“Noel was one of the raising stars in his country and in the MLS four years ago,” said the 37-year-old James.
“He has the experience, having played in the US and China. On top of that, he also played for his national team. There is no doubting his quality ... he just needs to adapt to Forces’ style of play and life here in Malaysia.”
James said that it was his decision to quit the team after spending more time on the treatment table than the pitch.
The former Kedah player tore a knee muscle in the season-opening match against Sarawak on Jan 18 and then aggravated it on his return in the 2-1 defeat by Lions XII on Feb 15.
“It was my decision to quit the team ... I’m frustrated with the injury and I felt that the team need to get a striker to change their fortunes around in the league,” he said.
“I was planning to retire at the end of the season but now I need to rethink about my future. My immediate plan now is to spend time with my family before making any decisions.”