GEORGE TOWN: Penang, stunned by the last-minute snub by Brazilian striker Charles Chad, have secured the services of Nigerian Osas Marvelous Ikpefua – just before the M-League player registration deadline ended on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Ikpefue, who had featured for the Nigeria Under-17 side, played for Perseru Serui in the Indonesian Super League last year. The striker had also featured for PSMS Medan, PSAP Sigli, Persisam Putra and Semen Padang during his seven years in Indonesia.
The Nigerian was recommended by Penang chief coach Jacksen Tiago, who had previously coached in Indonesia.
Penang were forced into a last-minute to scramble for a foreign striker after Chad’s unexpected U-turn.
The Football Association of Penang (FAP) had confirmed two weeks ago that they had reached an agreement for Chad to replace compatriot Jose Tadeu.
Chad, 34, was supposed to sign a one-year contract.
However, the former Police and Perak forward chose not to take up Penang’s offer and preferred to return to Brazil.
But everything is in order now that they have signed up Ikpefua to replace the ineffective Tadeu, who only signed up with Penang in December.
“Ikpefua has signed a one-year contract with Penang. We have already obtained his ITC (International Transfer Certificate). We’re working on finalising his registration with FAM. We hope he can get the clearance in time to play in the FA Cup second-round match against Kuantan FA on Feb 20,” said Penang team manager Mohd Azizudin Shariff on Sunday.
The Nigerian will not be available for Penang’s Super League tie against Pahang at the City Stadium in George Town on Tuesday.
Besides Ikpefua, Penang’s three other foreign players are defenders Reinaldo Lobo (Brazil) and Brent Griffiths (Australia), and midfielder Matias Cordoba (Argentina).
The Panthers lost their opening Super League match against Terengganu 1-0 at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak on Saturday.