Balestier close to signing three Myanmar internationals

Balestier Khalsa had been very quiet in terms of transfer news, particularly when it comes to their imports. But it's understood they are on the verge of snapping up a Suzuki Cup trio...

Balestier Khalsa are on the verge of an historic transfer deal, with the club understood to be close to an agreement to bring three national players from Myanmar to the S.League this season.

Given the success of a young, vibrant Myanmar team that stunned many by reaching the semi-finals of last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup, it’s a surprise other clubs haven’t looked to raid the White Angels’ ranks earlier than this, with the Tigers set to be the main beneficiaries.

They are all Myanmar national players and hopefully sometime next week it will be confirmed that we have three coming together

- Marko Kraljevic

All three players are understood to be current national stars and will help continue the club’s push to play a more up-tempo, fast-paced brand of football, as coach Marko Kraljevic exclusively told FourFourTwo.

“Nothing has been finalised yet but we’re going to bring in three foreign players and most probably they will be from Myanmar,” he said.

“They are all Myanmar national players and hopefully sometime next week it will be confirmed that we have three coming together which is really exciting news for the club.”

The German-born coach, in his fourth year with Balestier, also confirmed that all three players will be attacking options which could make the Tigers’ attack one of the most deadly for the upcoming campaign.

“The three we are looking at will either be two strikers and one midfielder or two midfielders and one striker but all will be attacking players.

Myanmar reached the Suzuki Cup semi-finals last year

“This is a new direction from the club and it’s a really smart move, for a start the players are cheaper than those in Europe but their quality is also very high.

“These players are all of a very good standard and they are quick and that will help our team.”

Kraljevic also confirmed the club will continue to promote youth amongst its local players and believes that a mid-table finish would be a good return for a team still undergoing a transitional phase.

“We will have a very young team as we’ve released a few older players who were reaching or over 30 and we’ve signed a few Prime League boys and now we’re really focused on youth,” he said.

“Balestier is still very strong on youth development with many age groups from under-12 and we want to make a younger team for the S.League so these players who have come through the under-17 or under-19 teams know they have a chance.

“This also allows us to play differently as well where we can put more pressure on teams and play higher with more energy and you can run more and I think it’s a good move from the club.”

As for who he thinks will be the team to beat the Balestier manager opted for a former champion – but not the reigning one.

“I think Brunei will be strong after signing Billy Mehmet from Tampines and Rafael Ramazotti is still around and they are allowed this year to sign one more young player,” he declared.

“So I’ll think they’ll definitely be the main contender and then of course Albirex is always strong – the rest I’m not so sure until we see the first couple of rounds.”

Photos: Myanmar Football Federation