Kedah drop Brazilians Magno and da Silva for new season

PETALING JAYA: Premier League champions Kedah have surprisingly decided not to renew the contracts of Brazilian strikers Marcos Magno and Paula da Silva. 

The duo had played a big hand for the team this season to take Kedah back to the top flight Super League after a lapse of two seasons. 

Magno was the team’s top scorer with 12 goals in the league and Silva contributed eight, including the winner in the 1-0 victory over Malacca in the Premier League final in June. 

But Kedah opted to retain defender Cornelius Bernard Hugging of St Vincent. 

Kedah also did not renew the contract of Akmal Rizal Rakhli but the decision was no surprise, considering that the former national striker had been sidelined with a knee injury for most of the season. 

The 25-year-old Akmal only played three league matches – against Brunei, Penang NTFA and Kelantan. He is still recovering from a knee surgery, which he underwent in June at the National Sports Institute (NSI) in Bukit Jalil. 

Coach Mohd Azraai Khor Abdullah will take charge of the Canaries for the second full season. 

Azraai took over from Brazilian Mirandinha after Kedah finished last in the inaugural eight-team Super League in 2004. 

“The team had a good run this year, winning the Premier League and getting back in the Super League,” said Azrai. 

He said that it was the team management who made the decision on the foreigners and he planned to replace the Brazilians with local players. 

“There are many up-and-coming local players and getting good quality forwards will not be a problem. As far as Kedah are concerned, we will be using a lot more of our youngsters from the Sukma squad in the new season,” said Azraai. 

“If we are to sign up foreigners, they have to be at least a few levels better (than the Brazilians).” 

Kedah will begin training for the new season on Oct 16.