GEORGE TOWN: Penang coach Jacksen Tiago is feeling excited after getting a first look at the Panthers’ latest young acquisitions.
Following the disbandment of the Harimau Muda (national age-group) teams, Penang secured the signings of Mohd Faizat Ghazli, S. Kumaahran, Muhammad Jafri Chew, Syamer Kutty Abba, Muhd Hazrul Hafiz Zulkifly and Wan Rohaimi Rahasdi.
Nineteen-year-old forward Kumaahran played a sterling role in leading the national Under-22 side to lift the Bangabandhu Cup in Bangladesh last year. His exploits earned him a senior call-up from then national coach Dollah Salleh.
Kumaahran earned international caps with the Harimau Malaya squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and made an appearance for the Malaysian Selection in the friendly against English Premier League giants Liverpool.
Jafri and Syamer, both 18, were also impressive during their stints with the Harimau Muda C (Under-19) team last year. Striker Jafri emerged as the side’s top scorer during the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 Finals in Laos and the 17-match playing tour in Slovakia.
“It’s still early days in training, but I see the players are hungry to do something, especially the Harimau Muda boys,” said Tiago, the former Indonesia national coach, on Wednesday.
The Brazilian, who guided the islanders to second place in the Premier League and promotion to the Super League during his first season in charge, has pledged to give the youngsters enough playing time to prove their worth.
Penang have retained only one import from last year – Brazilian defender Reinaldo Lobo.
The three new foreign signings are Australian defender Brent Griffiths, Argentine midfielder Matias Cordoba and Brazilian forward Jose Tadeu Mouro Jr.