PENANG: Premier I outfit Perlis have opted for an all-Zambian strike force for their M-League challenge this season.
Nineteen-year-old Kelvin Mugange, who has been in Kangar for the past three weeks attending trials, has finally been given the green light by the Perlis FA to become the Northern Lions' second foreign player.
Perlis' other Zambian striker on their payroll is Philemon Trequila, who signed up in early January.
“The team management took such a long time before deciding to sign Mugange because we wanted to be really sure of his true capabilities.
“Apart from his speed and skill, another important factor which we took into account before hiring him was his good understanding on the pitch with his compatriot Trequila,” Perlis team manager Adzmi Saad said in a telephone interview from Kangar yesterday.
However, the Zambian national Under-20 player's availability for the opening league match against Terengganu in Kangar on Saturday still hangs in the balance as his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) has yet to arrive from Zambia.
“We are in touch with FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) and can only hope that the ITC will be here in time for the Terengganu game.
“With Che Zambil Ahmad still unavailable through injury, Mugange's presence is much needed as we only have Hairil (Zamri Rashid) and Trequila to rely on in attack right now,” said Adzmi.
Meanwhile, Perlis have retained national defender Mohd Khaironisam Sahabuddin as the team captain for the 2003 season.
Team officials had earlier debated on handing over the captaincy to former Selangor player Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan, who was the Malaysian skipper at the recent Tiger Cup tournament.
“Although Tengku Hazman can also lead by example on the field, the management decided to stick with local boy Khaironisam as the captain in recognition of his excellent contribution as a skipper for the past two seasons and also his loyalty to Perlis”, said Adzmi.