Former Terengganu forward, Issey Nakajima-Farran and former Kelantan striker, Austin Amutu will be making a comeback in Malaysian league when they are expected to make their debut – this time with another unifi Super League outfit, Pahang – against Kedah tonight at Stadium Darul Aman.
Pahang’s head coach, Dollah Salleh confirmed this development to Berita Harian yesterday, saying Issey and Amutu will be replacing Chan Vathanaka and Francis Forkey Doe. Vathanaka failed to impress Dollah during his brief stint at Pahang’s left wing this season. Meanwhile Forkey Doe is released following his lengthy foot injury that he sustained during FA Cup third round clash against Kedah.
Speaking to Berita Harian, Dollah is hoping the arrival of Issey and Amutu can add the much-needed spark to their attacking firepower to improve their current third position in the league.
“Of course I want to see them [Issey and Amutu] to give big impacts especially in terms of their understanding of the game and ability to score goals.” He added, “Amutu and [Patrick] Cruz will be spearheading our attack. Issey will increase our quality in midfield.”
Asked if his side can disappoint the home side and steal three points, Dollah is hoping his squad is focused and determined enough not to drop any more points to close the 7-point gap with the league leader, JDT.
However his job does not get any easier against the recently improved Kedah, who have been unbeaten (2 wins, 3 draws) since ‘resting’ Ramon Marcote and re-appointing Nidzam Adha as the head coach.
“We can’t afford to miss any more points because we want to close the gap with the league leader, JDT. I hope the boys will be up to the task,” said the 54-years old head coach.
Pahang is now third in the league with 18 points, currently 7 points adrift to the league leader, JDT, who has 25 points. Meanwhile Perak is second with 20 points.
Who is Issey Nakajima-Farran?
Position: winger, attacking midfielder, striker
The media-friendly forward is a popular name among the Malaysian football fans for his on and off-the-field reasons. Despite a disastrous 2016 campaign which saw Terengganu relegated to Premier League, Issey proved his loyalty by staying and helping them to gain promotion.
Despite that, he still could not managed to convince Terengganu to renew his contract for 2018’s season. Off the field, the 34-years old stamped his mark as fan favourite for his liking towards local cuisine, particularly nasi dagang.
Speaking to Semuanya BOLA, Issey shares Dollah’s expectation in him:
“I think it’s very simple, to be more effective in the final third. I know what I can bring to the table, and the guys we have lined up, we can be so much more. Just a matter of time where our chemistry will bond stronger.”
Who is Austin Iwuji Amutu?
Brought to Kelantan on a loan deal from Nigerian side, Warri Wolves in April 2015, Austin Amutu immediately impressed Kelantan fans with his sheer strength, speed and ability to score goals from various positions.
During his time in Kelantan, he was mainly put in unfamiliar position – mainly on right wing – by the then Kelantan head coach, Azraai Khor Abdullah. But despite that, he still managed to score important goals to save Kelantan from relegation.