GEORGE TOWN: Liberian striker Patrick Wleh has been warned not to put self interest ahead of the team when he rejoins PKNS FC.
The flamboyant 25-year-old had featured for the Red Ants from 2013-15 before engineering a loan move to Super League side Selangor last season.
He scored nine league goals as the Red Giants finished fifth in the top flight and was on target six times to help them reach the Malaysia Cup final.
For 2017, Wleh will return to PKNS, who were promoted to the top flight after finishing runners-up in the Premier League.
And coach E. Elavarasan wants Wleh to toe the line when he joins the rest of the team for pre-season next week.
“I expect nothing less than full commitment from Patrick in the coming season. No more self-marketing or using PKNS as a stepping stone for better offers. The team’s needs must come first at all times,” warned Elavarasan.
“He has played for PKNS and under me before, so he should not face much difficulties in adapting to our style of play. Plus the experience of playing a full season in the Super League with Selangor will benefit us in our first season back in the top flight.”
The Liberian international is one of three players offered new contracts by the Selangor-based club side. The other two are Argentine defender Gonzalo Soto and the Chile-born Palestinian forward Matias Jadue.
Argentine midfielder Gabriel Guerra, who played a pivotal role in helping PKNS secure promotion, has joined reigning Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT).
The Red Ants are sizing up his compatriot Lucas Espindola, a 22-year-old who has featured for the CA All Boys team in the Argentine Primera B league, as a replacement.
“It is a blow to lose a quality player like Gabby (Guerra), but we need to move on and find a capable replacement,” added Elavarasan.
“Lucas has been on trials with us for a week now. But it is too early to rate him. He needs more time to settle down and get on with the rest of the team before we can make a decision.”
The 2016 FA Cup finalists have roped in eight new local players – Zamir Selamat (Perak), Azmi Muslim (Selangor), Fauzan Dzulkifli (Penang), S. Sivanesan and Bobby Gonzales (Felda United), Affize Faizal Mamat (Terengganu), K. Gurusamy (Sarawak) and Sabre Mat Abu (Kedah).
“It is a tough job to get them to perform smoothly when there are many new faces in the squad.
“It will take time for them to adapt and time is not on our side as the league starts on Jan 21. I hope the players can settle in quickly.”