Holland striker Valentin Verga is the big-name signing for this season’s Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The 27-year-old Verga, a scorer of 22 goals in 134 internationals, will feature for defending double champions Terengganu.
The hiring of Argentine-born Verga is a big coup for the east coast team, making them head and shoulders above the other seven teams – Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), Maybank, Tenaga Nasional, TNB Thunderbolt, SSTMI and UiTM-KPT – in the Premier Division.
Besides Verga’s firepower, Terengganu also have Jang Jung-hyun. The South Korean hitman is a penalty corner specialist, emerging top scorer with 14 goals last year.
Terengganu coach Sarjit Singh believes Verga will give them the edge to win the Premier Division and overall crown (TNB Cup) with ease.
“We struggled to win the titles the last three years. We won the three league titles only in the penultimate games. There were also some tight moments for the overall crown.
“I think Jung-hyun and Valentin should get the job done this time in a more comfortable manner,” said Sarjit.
There is only one snag as Verga will only be available to play for Terengganu from Feb 3 due to national team commitments.
“Valentin has to attend the Dutch training camp later this month. But we will have him during the crucial part of the league.
“He is a top class player and should fit into our plans without any problems,” said Sarjit.
Terengganu have also hired four other foreigners in the quest to win their fourth straight double. They are defender Muhamad Irfan of Pakistan, forward Pablo Javier Trevison of Argentina and Spanish midfielder Nicolas Ebrique Della Torre.
Pakistan midfielder Ahmad Shakeel Butt, who featured for Terengganu in 2015, has also been rehired.
In addition to the six foreign signings, Terengganu have also added two local players – national forward Mohd Firhan Ashaari and midfielder B. Namasivayam – to their stable.
Terengganu will kick off their season against Division One champions TNB Thunderbolt in the first round of the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Knockout Trophy on Jan 6. They were ousted by Tenaga Nasional in the semi-finals last season.