JOHOR BARU: Premier League’s Johor FC tried hiring Indonesian players for the new season but their asking price soared sky-high after Bambang Pamungkas and Ellie Aiboi powered Selangor to a hat-trick of titles this season.
So it’s back to the Argentinians for the Hornets when the three players – midfielder Juan Marcelo Cirelli, striker Gaston Marcel Conlon and defender Victor Rafael Insaurralde – signed their contracts with the team yesterday.
The players come on the recommendation of coach turned talent scout Raul Carrizo.
Club president Ahamad Mohamad said that Raul was disappointed after Johor FC finished empty-handed and failed to get promotion to the Super League for the new season, which kicks off on Dec 3 with the Charity Shield match between Selangor and Perak.
“We had a much earlier start to ourpreparations because the new season starts early next month,” said Ahamad.
“Getting promotion is again our top priority. We have minimal changes to the team but will have a new set of foreigners to carry our challenges.
“In the past, we depended on agents for players and more often than not they did not live up to expectations. But this time, Raul took the task upon himself to get quality players for the team.
“He wants to pay back something to Johor FC. He is no more the coach but his heart is still with the team. Raul wants to do his bit to help Johor FC gain promotion to the Super League this time.”
Johor FC had a roller-coaster run in the Premier League this season and barely made it to the Malaysia Cup competition with a fourth-place finish in Group B.
Johor FC’s new coach is Ramlan Rashid, who was Raul’s assistant for last two seasons.