JOHOR BARU: Negri Sembilan Chempaka have withdrawn from Premier I but the other club in the top flight, Johor FC, continue to go places as they gear up for the new season.
Johor FC, who have set the target to finish among the top three this year, will head for Australia at the end of next week for a playing tour of Sydney and Canberra.
Australian Jon Angelucci, has also brought good news to the team.
It has been confirmed that the Sydney United striker will don Johor FC colours again.
There had been uncertainty over his availability after he managed to earn a first-team place with the Australian club.
Johor FC president Ahamad Mohamad said that Angelucci, who had a successful debut in the M-League debut last year, was due to arrive in Johor Baru on Sunday.
Johor FC have also given the nod to former national striker Azmi Mohamad, who was put on hold after a series of trials.
“We have almost finalised our squad. We are only looking for two young players,” said Ahamad.
“We do not have a back-up squad. Therefore we have to look for them elsewhere. Having Angelucci in the team is certainly good news for us.
“He did well for us last season even though he picked up a number of unwarranted bookings which kept him out of crucial matches.
“We have also given Azmi the green light and together with Angelucci, they will sign their contracts before the team leave for our playing tour in Australia.”
Johor FC have always chosen Australia for their pre-season warm-up because of their close ties with Sydney United.
This year’s playing tour is organised by Johor FC’s new technical and coaching director Ronald Smith.
Smith joined Johor FC in November after ending his stint with the FA of Malaysia in June. He is expected to play a key role in charting Johor FC's fortunes even though the team were under the charge of Azuan Zain.
Johor FC are the Johor Corporation’s football team and they are one of best managed sides in the country.
The owners of the team have seconded several professionals to run the team and they have taken the club to new heights in Malaysian football.
Johor FC narrowly missed finishing among the top five target in Premier I last year, claiming sixth spot on inferior goal difference to Terengganu.