Filipino defender Amani Aguinaldo is currently on trial with K-League club Incheon United and could become the league’s first ASEAN signing since a new quota for players from the region was introduced.
The defender, who spent last season on loan with PKNP in Malaysia from Filipino side Ceres-Negros, is highly rated in his homeland. Excellent performances during the recent 2019 SEA Games have clearly generated interest in the player, with a showing that saw him included in Football Tribe’s Team of the Tournament. The 24-year-old has also already made 38 appearances for the Philippines national team and established himself as a key player for the Azkals.
— Korea Football News (@KORFootballNews) December 28, 2019
Incheon United have experience with making singings from the ASEAN region. Last season, the side signed Vietnamese attacker Nguyen Cong Phuong on loan from Hoang Anh Gia Lai, which has been cited by some as the impetus for the K-League’s introduction of an ASEAN quota.
While he wasn’t able to break into the first team and only made 8 appearances for the club, the interest in Incheon from Vietnamese fans opened the K-League’s eyes to the marketing and outreach opportunities in Southeast Asia.
With the new quota for ASEAN imports set to go into effect this season, fans from Southeast Asia will be hoping that Aguinaldo is just the first in a long line of players headed to the K-League.