07 January 2012

DPMM FC sign Gral, drop O'Callaghan

Saturday, January 7, 2012
DPMM FC are looking for the best and have decided to go samba.

Brunei's only professional football club have signed Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral, according to a statement on DPMM FC's official website yesterday.

DPMM FC will finally see action when the 14-team Singapore League (S-League) kicks off on Feb 9.

FIFA's two-year suspension on Brunei, which was only lifted in May last year, meant that DPMM FC have not played a competitive game since their 2-2 draw against Tampines Rovers FC in the S-League on Sept 29, 2009.

To prepare for the new S-League season, the team announced on Dec 1 that they had signed four import players Brazilian defender Tales Ricarte dos Santos, Irish midfielder George O'Callaghan, Ghanaian striker Osman Basiru and Croatian attacking midfielder Ivan Jerkovic to strengthen the squad.

All S-League sides are allowed four import players.

But, on Jan 2 the team announced that Gral is training with them despite having maxed out their quota of import players.

DPMM FC then confirmed yesterday that they have signed Gral, saying on their website: "DPMM FC sign Brazilian star Rodrigo Gral from Bahia FC of the Brazilian Serie A."

Another brief statement on the website then added: "DPMM FC import players for S-League Season 2012: Tales Ricarte dos Santos (Brazil), Osman Basiru (Ghana), Ivan Jerkovic (Croatia) and Rodrigo Gral (Brazil)."

This means O'Callaghan has been dropped from the team.

Gral arrived in the Sultanate just last week and has been training with the team at the Jerudong Mini Stadium, in Jerudong.

The pint-sized (176cm and 70kg) striker, who relies on his speed in the box to score, started his career together with ex-Barcelona and former AC Milan star Ronaldinho in Gremio youth team in the 1990s.

The 34-year-old Gral represented Brazil at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship and even had a goal to his name in the Nigeria tournament which he scored against Zambia in the group stages.

He was also part of the Brazil Under-23 squad that competed in the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

He spent five years from 2001 to 2006 in Japan, playing with Jubilo Iwata, where he scored a total of 56 goals in four seasons, before moving to Yokohama Marinos and Omiya Ardija.

The Brazilian hitman averaged one goal every two matches during his time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

He then moved to Qatar playing for Al-Khor Sports Club (2007-2009) and Al-Sadd for the next three years before returning to Brazil to play for Brazilian side Bahia EC.

DPMM FC have started their pre-season preparations since October, but have had to settle for friendly matches against local sides.

They had played various friendlies against the Royal Brunei Armed Forces' Sports Council (MS ABDB) and the Under-21 national team, who are preparing for the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) slated for next month.

They will finally get to test the true potential of the team with a friendly at home against Thai Premier League team, Chiangrai United, on Jan 18. The Brunei Times

No comments:

Post a Comment