Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Former Perseman Striker Finds New Home

New signings to make a difference at Sengkang
Syahrom Sulaiman
All season long, Sengkang Punggol’s well-documented problems up front became a major talking point in the S.League. Currently occupying the last spot, the Dolphins’ inability to convert the chances in front of goal is putting them in danger of finishing the season on a new low.
Therefore, it was no surprise that the Hougang-based outfit decided to bring in a pair of forwards during the mid-season transfer window to boost their attacking options in search of more goals. Brazilian Reginaldo Estevao and Japanese Toshiaki Kato were registered on the 16th of July in the hopes that the pair can bang in the goals to ensure that the Dolphins can climb higher in the league table.
Head coach Saswadimata Dasuki gave the pair a chance on Sunday to show what they can do against the Super Reds. The expression “baptism of fire” could not have been more apt in describing how the two forwards tried to perform against a well-drilled Super Reds’ team. Nevertheless, Saswadimata was rather pleased with their efforts, even though they did not produce the goods in the end.
He said, “Reginaldo is the type of player that we’ve been searching for since the start of the season. He is strong, quick and he has the ability to hold onto the ball.
“This is his first game in Singapore and his first game is against a very strong team (Super Reds) that is capable of challenging for the title. But even so, you can see that he has shown the qualities that we desperately need up front,” Saswadimata commented.
The 31-year old Brazilian’s previous stint was at Indonesian club Perseman Manokwari. He played for one season before deciding to strike it out at Singapore and as fate would have it, it was Fandi Ahmad who recommended Reginaldo to the Dolphins.
20-year old Toshiaki Kato, on the other hand, does not have a lot of professional soccer experience under his belt. He came for trials at the club before impressing enough people to get into the club’s books.
In contrast to Reginaldo’s tireless performance, the Japanese youngster was subdued in the first half and he was subsequently substituted by Haris Sumri in the second. Coach Saswadimata explained, “I put (Toshiaki) Kato in the first half so that he can contain the Super Reds from the front.
“He is quick and he has pace, so at least he can match up to the Koreans in terms of fitness. However, it’s his first game and you can see that he needs time to adapt. “That is why Haris (Sumri) was brought into the game in the second half so that we can utilize his experience,” the Dolphins coach added.
Saswadimata believes that the future looks bright for his team, despite the many struggles and obstacles that they have had to face this season.
He commented, “We believed that the move to swap Ivan Asenjo with Reginaldo is a good one. Ivan Asenjo is a gifted midfielder but he is not a forward. “We have many talented midfielders so Ivan (Asenjo) definitely had to make way. It is a good step forward and I believe that Reginaldo and (Toshiaki) Kato will play a big role towards the end of the season,” Saswadimata confidently added.
The Dolphins do not have anything to lose but everything to gain purely by looking at league position. Their next test, however, is not going to be a simple one. Home United will be visiting the Hougang Stadium and fans will have another closer look at the new strike partnership. With games coming thick and fast towards the business end of the season, Reginaldo and Toshiaki Kato will have to gel fast with their new team mates if the Dolphins want to climb higher up the league table soon.

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