24 May 2012

DPMM FC part with Gral

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
DPMM FC yesterday officially announced they have released injured Brazilian striker Rodrigo Gral.

Though the news was posted up on their website last week, it was only yesterday that DPMM FC manager Ali Hj Momin confirmed that the 35-year-old is no longer a part of the club.

One of the three new imports the Singapore League (S-League) leaders signed at the beginning of the season, Gral who left the Sultanate yesterday looked to have started his DPMM FC career with a bang after scoring the first goal in a 2-1 win over Chiang Rai United FC in the team's only pre-season friendly in February and celebrated by taking out a Brunei flag from his shin pad and displaying it to the approving crowd.

But a lingering knee injury and the fact that he never really properly linked up with fellow strikers Shahrazen Said and Osman Basiru meant the former Jubilo Iwata and Yokohama Marinos star's time with Brunei's only professional club eventually stuttered out.

That is not to say he has not contributed to the team's league high 29-goals he scored the only strike in their 1-1 draw against Harimau Muda (Malaysian Under-23 team), netted a brace in the 3-0 win over Woodlands Wellington FC and bagged the winner in the 2-1 result over Albirex Niigata (S) FC.

His pedigree speaks for himself, starting his playing career with Ronaldinho in the Gremio youth team in the 1990s and playing for his country at the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

Understandably, Ali had mixed emotions about Gral's departure.

"It's quite a loss for us the whole of S-League knows about him ... as an important import," he said, adding that the decision to terminate his contract was made by both parties.

The club is set to offer trials to six strikers starting on Friday; Brazilian Patrick Da Silva, Nigerian Sibi Gwar, Ghanian Yakubu Mohammed, Tunisian Abdelmajid Belgacem, Malian Ousmane Goita and Devon Jorsling from Trinidad & Tobago.

But they know they will have their work cut out for them as DPMM FC coach Vjeran Simunic has always maintained that any foreign signings will need to not only impress the Croatian but also his players.

Ali said that the S-League transfer window will be open for a week next month but stressed that picking a player by then is no easy task.

"It's going to be tough because it's not easy to get the players to adapt," said the 1999 Malaysia Cup winner.

At least Ali can be thankful that the S-League is in the middle of a break now, with the team's next game only on June 16 against Tampines Rovers FC at the Clementi Stadium in Singapore.

The Brunei Times

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