JOHOR BARU: Terengganu have signed up another Ghanaian as the second foreign player of the team. He is striker Raphael Patron Akakpo, who played a key role in Brunei's success to win the Malaysia Cup in 1999.
Akakpo is expected to arrive in Kuala Terengganu next week and the deal to join the Turtles was worked out by the team's long-serving Ghanaian midfielder Seidu Issifu.
The Terengganu FA president, Datuk Che Mat Jusoh, who is also the team manager, said that Akakpo had agreed to the terms and conditions of a one-year contract.
We have already faxed him details of the contract. He is expected to arrive in Kuala Terengganu next week and will sign the contract if he passes a medical test, said Che Mat from Kuala Terengganu yesterday.
We have received some good reports on Akakpo even though he was sacked by Brunei in mid-season last year. Terengganu are looking for an out-and-out striker and we believe Akakpo fits the bill.
Brunei terminated Akakpos services in April last year following a poor run in Premier II.
Terengganu are in the process of rebuilding the team under former Perlis coach Tajuddin Noor following a mass exodus of players.
Among those who have left Terengganu are internationals Hairuddin Omar, Rosdi Talib and Subri Sulong.
The trio have joined Pahang. Striker Wan Rohaimi Ismail has joined FA Cup champions Penang while Sapian Wahid has returned to Sarawak after a lapse of five years.
It was the non-payment of salaries for five months that led the players to leaving the team and Terengganu had to seek an advance of the RM1million grant from the FA of Malaysia to settle the dues.
Che Mat said that the problem will not happen again and for the new season, they had set aside a RM2.8 million budget.
Terengganu were Malaysia Cup champion in 2001 but had a disappointing season last year.
Despite the setbacks, we are looking for a fruitful season this year.
When I took over the helm five years ago I had said that by 2003 Terengganu will win all the titles, he said.