Devan beefs up for rise of the Phoenix

Trusted player: PJ City have retained Brazilian Washington Brandao (left) for the M-League season which starts next month.

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya (PJ) City coach K. Devan is still on the hunt to ensure the Phoenix rise in the 2020 M-League season.

PJ City who made the debut in the Super League for the 2019 season, finished eighth in the 12-team League; reached the third round of the FA Cup; and failed to get past the group stage of the Malaysia Cup.

The team have retained Brazilian forward Washington Brandao and his compatriot defender Elizeu Araujo but released two other Brazilians Pedro Henrique and Sergio Filho along with South Korean midfielder Bae Beom-geun.

The team management have signed several established players like M. Kogileswaran and A. Salomon Raj of Pahang, K. Gurusamy (PKNS) and winger Christie Jayaseelan of Felda United to add quality to the squad.

Devan said he was looking at signing a few more local players and imports to complete his squad.

“We have assembled a new squad... almost 60% to 70% are new players and we started our pre-season last week. We are currently focusing on improving their fitness levels, ” said the 52-year-old coach.

“We are still looking at adding in some local players... maybe one or two more. We also will have three import players joining the team in the next few weeks.”

Devan added that shifting their base from Nilai to PJ will bring them closer to their fan base.

Last season, the Phoenix were based at the Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (Usim) but played at the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya, which was an hour’s drive apart.

For the 2020 season, PJ City will continue to use the PJ Stadium but the team’s training base has been relocated to Petaling Jaya and they will use the facilities at the Universiti Malaya (UM).

“I think it is a good decision to move the team to PJ, ” said Devan in a video posted by PJ City official Facebook page.

“The facilities in UM are good, we have two practice fields. Our fans will be able to see the team training and build rapport with the players and the club too.”

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