PETALING JAYA: Melaka coach Zainal Abidin Hassan sees better days for Melaka in the Super League with the presence of their new signings Philippines Manuel Ott and Croatian striker Ivan Lendric.
Learning from last season’s travails, Zainal is bent on using the new foreign players to score more goals.
He felt that the team’s attacking machine could be better with the newer ones after releasing the likes of Uche Agba and Romel Morales. Letting Agba go was a surprise as he was the team’s top scorer with six goals in all competitions and Morales was a key playmaker for the team.
But Zainal has faith in Ott and Lendric.
“Manuel is a seasoned campaigner in the region. He has played in the AFC Cup, AFC Champions League and is regular for the Azkals. He is a quality player, and I believe he will enhance the team, ” said Zainal.
“Lendric was recommended by an agent, and we have studied a lot of his videos. He can be a scoring machine, and we will get another foreign striker to partner him..
“Most of last season, we only played four imports, so that hampered us a little. This year, we will have five. We believe these players will help us score goals and put us in a better position.”
The Mousedeer have retained South Korean centreback Jang Suk-won and Haitian international winger Sony Norde.
As for the local players, Zainal confirmed that they have sealed centreback Khairul Helmi Johari, wingers Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and S. Kumaahran, fullbacks Mohd Hasbullah Abu Bakar and Che Rashid Che Halim.
“Khairul and Wan Zaharulnizam are seasoned players in the league, so I am sure they would blend well with the team.
“Many would ask whether Khairul still has it in him, but I believe he is still a player worthy of the top league. He has won titles and is commanding. You cannot buy his experience.
“For me, it is not about one individual player making the team. I want every single one to work for one common cause, elevating Melaka’s football status.
“We can be the best, and this season, we will only give our best.”
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