|By Khalis Rifhan
Maldives top-division club Maziya Sports and Recreation Club have beefed up their squad ahead of their local domestic season and the AFC Asian Cup by signing several players from the Maldives national team, as well as American-South Sudan player Ladule Lako LoSarah.
Maziya ended the 2012 season as league runners-up, but qualified for Asia’s second-tier club competition after they won the FA Cup by seeing off Club Eagles 2-1 in the final.
Singapore-based football management firm Trebol Sports International was responsible for securing LoSarah’s five-day trial in Maldives and the 1.91m striker impressed the club's management with his unique combination of technique, intelligence, speed and aerial prowess.
After putting pen to paper, the California native declared himself thrilled with the prospect of facing off against some of the best clubs in Asia.
"It's a real delight and [a] fantastic opportunity to sign for this club. Maziya is a model professional outfit with knowledgeable coaching staff, excellent facilities and equipment, strong front office support and most importantly, [they are] full of ambition," the 25-year-old said.
“I'm excited to be part of Maziya's maiden shot at continental glory in the 2013 AFC Cup. I look forward to improving my game through hard work during training and contributing to Maziya's title challenge and FA Cup defense with lots of goals this season.”
LoSarah previously played for Macedonian top-flight club FK Bregalnica Stip in 2010 before making the move to American fourth-tier regional league club San Diego Flash a year later.
Apart from LoSarah, Maziya has also signed Maldives internationals Mohamed Arif (Club Eagles), Hassan Aduham (VB Addu FC) and Shafiu Ahmed (Victory SC).
Joining the trio is defender Ahmd Firaz, who has signed a one-year deal. He moves from Victory, who finished the previous season in third place, one point behind Maziya in the league.
Other signings include Hussain Shuaib, Ali Nafiu and Adam Imran (all VB Addu FC) and goalkeeper Mohamed Nishah from Victory.
Maziya has been drawn in Group G in the AFC Asian Cup alongside Malaysian treble winners Kelantan FA, Myanmar Cup champions Ayeyawady United and V-League champions, SHB Da Nang FC.
The Green Boys will open their regional campaign with a trip to the Sultan Mohammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu on March 6 before hosting Da Nang at the Rasmee Dhandu Stadium in Malé a week later.