USM may hire Ugandan ‘hitman’

UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia (USM) FC in Penang may have failed to inject the team with a second foreign import when the last transfer window closed last month. Now they are leaving nothing to chance.

Determined to make sure that the varsity side are properly beefed up in their chase for a Malaysia Cup ticket this season, they are all set to check out another Ugandan national player.

With Ugandan attacking midfielder Kaye Edrisar already on their payroll, USM FC have successfully lured Penang Uganda’s national striker Katende Jerome Raymond.

The 25-year-old hitman, who stands at 181cm, came highly recommended by his national teammate Edrisar. He is described as a player with a good eye for goals and one who packs a punch on his left foot.

In confirming this, USM FC assistant team manager Dr Md Azree Othuman Mydin said with Edrisar having instilled so much confidence in the team’s setup since his arrival, this inspired them to go ahead and give Jerome the invite to attend trials here.

“What delighted me most is Jerome flying into Penang even before the April transfer window could open,” said Dr Md Azree, a senior lecturer with USM’s School of Housing, Building and Planning.

He said: “He in fact touched down at our Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas on March 21. This has allowed him to be properly recovered from jet lag and get acclimatised, and he had since been training with the team as well.

“Now, with USM FC dead serious in wanting to beef up our challenge with an able striker and the fact that Jerome arrived with an impressive set of credentials, we just cannot wait to quickly check him out and have him don USM colours.”

Jerome’s hope of being reunited with Edrisar looks bright if his CV is to be used as a yardstick.

A player with 20 caps for the Ugandan National Under-23, Jerome’s deadly strikes saw him registering a 15-goal credit when featuring for his national team.

That, incidentally, was part of the 120-goal credit he has savoured for himself since 2003 and the fact that he is the top scorer for Police FC with a 10-goal contribution in the just concluded Ugandan Premier League, speaks volumes of his scoring abilities.

Described as a player with good offensive skills and a dead ball specialist, Jerome is also nothing short in experience, having played not only in Uganda but in Oman as well.

Featuring for Al Nasr Club in the Sultanate of Oman Premier League in the 2009-2010 season, Jerome was not only adjudged the Best Player, but rightly emerged as the top goal poacher for his club in the Salalah Tournament with 18 goals.

With USM’s goal poaching ways still proving to be a big let down in their ongoing Premier League campaign thus far, Jerome could well come like an answered prayer if he is to continue displaying his lethal self.

However, there can be no automatic ticket for the Ugandan. He will first have to convince USM he is the player they are looking for. Even so, he will still have to wait until the start of the second round on April 13 to take his first bite at the Malaysian Premier League, though the new transfer window had opened on Monday.

USM meanwhile picked up three valuable points on the road when they courageously tamed the Northern Lions Perlis in their den to troop out a 2-1 win in their Premier League clash at the Utama Stadium in Kangar on Friday.

Although Perlis did well enough to draw level through Syed Mohd Abd Ghafar, just five minutes after Edrisar drew first blood to give USM a 13th minute lead, Mohd Akmal Mohd Noor displayed his dead ball skills by curling home a free kick from the top of the box in the 55th minute, and it proved to be the all-important goal.

USM FC coach S. Veloo was overwhelmed with the win, it being their first away win in the second tier League this season.

“It was a very important win for us as, with teams like Sime Darby, Pos Malaysia and Johor FA trooping out winners that night, our win allowed us to maintain our stand on the League table as this year’s challenge heads for a turn,” said Veloo shortly after their return from Kangar.

He said: “I am confident this will also be most inspiring for my players as we still have another away clash to tackle, this time against Muar FC at the Sultan Ibrahim Sta-dium in Muar on Friday, and with this being the last first round match, it will be great if we can end our first round challenge on a winning note.”

USM, with 16 points from five wins and a draw after 10 matches, are six points adrift League leader Armed Forces to be placed on a joint fifth spot with Pos Malaysia.

Back in the ball game

IT may not be the best of performances, but Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) FC did just enough to bounce their way back to the reckoning.


The varsity side were forced to parade an all-local side after Ugandian striker Kaye Edrisar limbed out injured midway into their Premier League clash in Penang against Johor.

Floored to a 4-1 beating by Sime Darby and edged by a solitary goal by Pahang in their two earlier Premier League outings, USM knew they needed an outright win to keep the early leaders within striking distance.

They did just that, marching out 2-1 winners, despite Johor looking just a shade better at the USM Stadium recently if the performances of both teams were to be used as a yardstick.

Although there was nothing much to separate both teams if the atrocious finishing was anything to go by, USM produced two magical moments through substitute Khairul Anwar, who struck with a brace, and it was enough for them to condemn Johor to their third League defeat.

Even when Nazrul Erwan managed to finally produce a goal deep into injury time, it proved to be a goal too late and a mere consolation for their travelling fans, who had been beating the kompang and blowing their trumpets throughout the match just to inspire their team on.

Their dancing in the stands in fact outshone what their heroes as well as USM actually had to display on the field.

Although USM managed to bring the fight to the visitors, the inept finishing of S. Vennod, Edrisar and Mohd Faizat Ghazali stood out like a sore thumb.

If that was not disappointing enough, the Johor counterparts, despite being powered by their Brazilian striker Andre Zinho and Argentine midfielder Muriel Olando, were also struggling to put their act together at the other end.

It was not a big surprise when both teams were made to head back to the dressing room for the breather with a blank score sheet.

But USM, who were forced to replace their injured Edrisar with nippy Zulhilme Mohd Fauzi during the breather, found their Johor rivals stepping up a gear when they returned for the second half action.

As if the tongue-lashing from Johor coach K. Sukumaran during the breather was what his outfit needed to get going, they firmly put USM into a back foot right from the whistle.

With the Johor offensive approach coming in waves, USM were automatically made to live dangerously and had it not been for alertness and superb anticipation of their goalkeeper Mohd Al-Hafiz Hamzah, Johor would have drawn first blood just three minutes into the second half.

After a relatively quiet night, Andre Zinho firmly latched onto a pass from Munir Amran to let fly a hefty left footer, only to find Mohd Al-Hafiz equal to the task to keep his goal intact.

Then, even when Fauzi Kassim succeeded in beating Mohd Al-Hafiz with a stinger in their next look at the USM goal, it was the left upright that stood in Johor’s way to provide USM a lucky escape.

USM coach S. Veloo did not take that lying down, making two tactical changes, bring on Mohd Shafiq Safaruddin for Mohd Aziz Arshad to help stabilise their defence and Khairul Anwar Idris for Mohd Faizat to add life to their attack.

It worked perfectly for the varsity side as it not only allowed them to push Johor right back into defence, but with Khairul putting on a supersub outlook, he firmly put USM into a 74th minute lead, stabbing home a grounder cross from Zulhilme, just 14 minutes after being sent into the fray.

The nippy attacking midfielder hit another lucky note to put USM two up just six minutes later.

This time, he tucked home a loose ball after Johor goalkeeper Zulfadhli Mohamed failed to catch cleanly an Elias Sulaiman left-footed pile driver from the top of the box.

With victory at hand, not even a reply from Nazrulerwan Makmor four minutes into time added on saved Johor from defeat.

USM team manager Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Shariff, who was all praise for his players, termed it as their all-important win.

“There is no doubt it was the brilliant tactical changes made by Veloo that did wonders for us in this clash,” said Mohd Azizuddin.

He said: “This win has not only enabled us to check the slide, but it has surely restored the confidence of my players, which was so badly shaken after three straight defeats, including the second round FA Cup clash against Sime Darby just a week before this.

“Now, with the League action to make way for the FA Cup quarter-finals, it has given us some breathing space to recuperate as well as get back on the field to further polish up our acts.”

USM’s unbeaten home record comes to an end

UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia (USM) FC registered another big defeat in their on-going Premier League campaign.


The varsity team which collected maximum points in their first three home outings, were just unfortunate to run into an energetic Pahang outfit.

That was the scenario at the USM Stadium in Penang on Monday when the East Coast State carved out a slim 1-0 win. The three precious points Pahang picked up on the road not only enabled them to maintain their second spot on the 12-team League table but allowed the team to close in on current leader Armed Forces.

The army outfit have been going great guns, managing 18 points from six wins in seven outings and are perched at the top, two points adrift of closest rival Pahang, who have 16 points from five wins, a draw and a loss.

For USM their second straight defeat in four days, have cost them their fourth spot achieved just two weeks ago. Beaten 1-4 by Sime Darby last Friday, the solitary goal defeat to Pahang on Monday, has resulted in USM sliding down to seventh position.

USM coach S. Veloo, however, is unperturbed with their recent predicament.

“The two straight defeats have made us look bad. But I am confident this will blow over,” said Veloo, who is into his third season charting the varsity’s football fortunes.

“Monday’s defeat to Pahang was most unfortunate. As far as I am concerned, we played very well and only a moment of defensive lapse, denied us what could have been a precious point at home,” Veloo added.

Veloo was not wrong in making that claim as USM, powered by their new Ugandan signing Kaye Edrisar, did put up a gallant performance to give Pahang some harrowing moments.

One such move nearly resulted in USM grabbing an early 11th minute lead. With S. Vennod having a good understanding with his Ugandan teammate, the former’s left footed volley nearly resulted in a goal.

Pahang stepped up a gear in the second half and the varsity side was in trouble in the 72nd minute. With speedy R. Gopinathan controlling the left flank, his measured cross found his new Russian teammate, Kockin Boris in firing range.

Boris smashed home the winning goal at the top of the box and Pahang grabbed the full three points.

Pahang coach Dollah Salleh readily admitted that they were lucky to have come away with a win as he felt it was not their best performance on the night.

“We were not really up to the mark if our performances are to be used as a yardstick. But I’m not complaining as we have the three points to stay within striking distance of leader Armed Forces,” said Dollah.

USM score another first

UNIVERSITI Sains Malaysia (USM) FC are all set to write another chapter into the history books.

Photos by GARY CHEN

After becoming the first university side ever to feature in the Malaysian professional football league, they have raised the bar again as the first varsity side to have a foreign signing.

Ready to go: USM FC team going through their paces during training at USM Stadium, Penang.

The Penang outfit, which is into its third season in Malaysia’s second tier league, has successfully beefed up their challenge by hiring Ugandan hitman Kaye Edrisar earlier this week.

Team manager Azizudin Mohd Shariff said that Edrisar, who is the Uganda National Under-23 striker, has been impressive since checking into Penang last Friday.

Taking head: Edrisar listening to coach Veloo's briefing on USM's team setup.

“With barely a week left before the transfer window closed, we managed to check him out by playing him in two friendlies.

“Being a national striker, Edrisar, who is only 22, had a good outing and it was enough to convince us that we have found the right candidate to solve our striking woes,” said Azizudin.

Edrisar proved to be the livewire of the USM side when they took on Perak in Ipoh last Saturday.

Although it was barely 24 hours after his arrival from Uganda, Edrisar looked lively throughout. He won a free kick near Perak’s penalty area which was successfully converted by Elias Sulaiman to earn the team a 1-1 draw.

Danger man: Edrisar strutting his stuff.

In his next game against FAM Cup debutant Penang Water Authorities (PBA) on Monday, Edrisar shone again when he successfully slotted home the winning goal in their 2-1 victory.

“We have confirmed him as our import and we are currently working hard to get his transfer papers ready on time for our away clash against Sime Darby tomorrow,” said Azizudin, who hinted on another foreign signing..

USM, which is sitting joint fourth with Sime Darby with 10 points from three wins and a draw after five outings, are likely to check out Edrisar’s national striking partners Peter Otema and Kigori Ismail as well.

Both players, said Azizudin, came highly recommended by Edrisar and since there is room for one more foreign signing, is prepared to seriously consider them.

“Both Otema and Ismail come highly recommended but until they show us what they are made of, we will not jump into any conclusions. They must first convince us like what Edrisar did,” said Azizudin, whose aim is to get the team qualify for the Malaysia Cup.

USM’s bold move to include imported players in their team, made them the fifth Premier League outfit to parade foreigners in the on-going League. The other four teams with foreign players are League leader Armed Forces, Sime Darby, Johor and Muar MP.