Southeast Asia Malaysia

Turtles Arm Themselves to the Teeth for 2021

With an AFC Cup campaign in the horizon, 2020 Liga Super Malaysia bronze medalists Terengganu FC have brought in a number of signings to arm themselves for the upcoming 2021 campaign. Having released all of their foreign players after the 2020 season has ended, Terengganu head coach Nafuzi Zain swiftly got to work in creating an even more competitive squad, with former Persebaya Surabaya talisman David da Silva becoming the Turtles’ newest option in attack.

Former Pohang Steelers striker David was originally slated to stay with Persebaya once the 2020-21 Liga 1 Indonesia season resumes, however with the continuity of the Indonesian top flight still uncertain, the Brazilian – who had scored 36 league goals for the Bajul Ijo throughout his two spells with the club – has decided to leave Persebaya in early December, asking the Surabaya-based club to terminate his contract early so that he could find a new club once the Asian transfer market opens.

This opens the door for Terengganu, who are looking for a new danger man up top after the departure of Dominique da Sylva, to rope in the 31-year old on Saturday. David’s arrival was announced by Terengganu’s social media channels after his contract was finalized and head coach Nafuzi was excited to work alongside him.

“As a striker, David is a complete package and he will be able to fill in the void left by Dominique,” said Nafuzi, as quoted from The Star, “I hope he can help us achieve the same success as he has had with Persebaya.”

David wasn’t the only new arrival at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium for the 2021 season. Just one day before David’s arrival, Terengganu had announced the signing of former Buriram United defender Chris Herd from Bangladeshi powerhouses Sheikh Russel KC. Capped by the Australia national team, Herd was anonymous during his tenure with the Thunder Castles however the 31-year old has pedigree in both the Premier League and the EFL Championship, representing the likes of Aston Villa, Bolton Wanderers, and Wigan Athletic during the course of his career.

Both David and Herd joins a growing contingent at Terengganu, with the club having signed Namibian attacking midfielder Petrus Shitembi from fellow Liga Super side Sabah FC and Filipino defender Carli de Murga from Thai League 1’s Chonburi FC earlier in December. Terengganu have also signed a number of local players in December, such as TRW Kelantan FC’s Nik Akif Syahiran, UKM FC’s Asnan Ahmad, UiTM FC’s Ariff Anwar, and Sri Pahang FC’s Faisal Halim. The Turtles still have one foreigner slot left in their squad and they are linked with David’s former teammate at Persebaya, Malian attacking midfielder Makan Konate. Konate had prior experience in Malaysia before, representing Terengganu’s former city rivals T-Team FC (now Terengganu’s reserve team Terengganu II) in 2016-17.

Having masterminded an impressive 2020 season, Nafuzi seeks to take his team to the next level as 2021 sees them fighting in two fronts. Domestically Terengganu would love to build upon their 3rd placed finish from 2020, while continentally Terengganu are seeking to make their mark in the 2021 AFC Cup, their first AFC Cup appearance since 2012.