PETALING JAYA: Negri Sembilan will go ahead with plans to sign up Argentinian Luiciano Osmar Gonzalez, an attacking midfielder from Boca Juniors.
The Premier II side, which finished at the bottom of the 14-team Premier I last year, are also looking at hiring a Brazilian to fill the quota of two foreign players in the team.
Coach K. Devan said that the Negri Sembilan FA (NSFA) had given their blessings to hire two foreign players and the team management.
“Luiciano is almost confirmed. We will test him out in one last friendly game today before we sign him up. A Brazilian will come on trial next but we have yet to get any information on him,” said Devan.
The 24-year-old Luiciano was a first team player for Boca from 1994 to 1997 before moving to play for clubs in Spain, Mexico and Costa Rica.
Negri, demoted to Premier II this season, look set for a quick return to top flight. They have in their ranks several former national players. They also chalked up impressive pre-season results – seven wins, two draws and one defeat to Premier I debutants Malacca Telekom.
Devan has been given the task to rebuild the side and about 10 new signings, comprising mostly former national players, form the backbone of the team.
Among the seasoned campaigners in the team are striker Azman Adnan; goalkeeper Azlisham Ibrahim; defenders B. Rajanikandh, Lim Chan Yew, Khairul Anuar Baharom and Redzuan Radzy; midfielders Mohamed Aiman Wong, Azrul Amri Burhan, Rosli Omar and Anuar Jusoh.
However, Negri's progress in Premier II took a jolt on Sunday. They crash to a surprise 1-2 defeat by lowly Brunei in Bandar Seri Begawan.
In previous matches, Negri defeated Kelantan SKMK 3-0 in the opening game and then drew 1-1 with Public Bank before scoring a 3-1 win over Kelantan TNB.
Devan said that they it was a disappointment to lose to Brunei.
“We had the chances to win by a big margin. Instead we returned home with a defeat. Brunei were lucky but that is football,” said Devan.
Negri will play their next match away to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. They will be up against leaders Selangor MPPJ on March 16 and they are likely to have Gonzalez in the line-up for the match.