Serbian steals the spotlight
Published on: Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Serbian Paunovic Rodoljub took the shine off former favourite Koh Traore on his return here during the selection trial at the Likas Stadium on Sunday night.The 31-year-old who came with an impressive scoring statistics during his 14-year playing career was certainly the best among the five new arrivals on the pitch.

He did not score on the night but his intelligent runs and assists on at least three of the goals scored by the other import players showed that he is a very good team player with his unselfishness.

Datuk James Wong was equally impressed with the Serb who once played for Thai Honda in the Thailand league during the 2014-2015 season and scored a staggering 41 goals in 51 matches.

"I think he really stood out tonight. He showed his quality with his reading of the game which was very good as well as his defence splitting passes. He did not find the net but came close few times and we may need to give him some time to adjust to the weather here," he said.

Head coach Jelius Ating agreed that Paunovic is the best among the four strikers who had come for the trial.

"At this moment he is the best. He has very good ball control and passing ability. His shooting was good as well even though he did not find the target, what I like about him is his unselfishness as we saw how his well placed passes resulted in some of the goals."

Despite the impressive display, Jelius did not want to commit early on Paunovic's chances of joining the team.

"No doubt we are very pleased with him right now but there are still a few more coming so we will just have to wait and see."

He added that he was also impressed by another striker, Congo born Germany national Christopher Mandiangu.

"Christopher was also a good striker even though he may not be as versatile as Paunovic. He was very fast and can score as well."

Meanwhile, Koh Traore and another striker Omar Nabil Rashad from Egypt were still unable to make heads turn although both managed to score.

Another player who came for trial is former Zambia international defender Francis Kasonde who looked good on the night with his commanding display and his ability to charge forward to help on the offensive.

A few more players are expected to come for the two available slots following the departure of Masaya Jitozono and Igor Cerina who is sideline by injury for the rest of the season. - GL Oh


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