FFT’s 2017 S.League Preview: Meet the new foreigners
*Additional reporting by Desmond Lim
Francois Marque (Brunei DPMM)
DPMM may have lost their 2015 S.League title-winning defender Brian McLean, but they should still cope pretty well at the back this year with the signing of Marque.
The 33-year-old left-footed centre-back started his career in his native France in 2002, moving to Switzerland five years later to join FC Basel.
He spent a successful four years with the Swiss giants between 2007 and 2010 – winning the Swiss Super League, Swiss Cup and Uhren Cup all in 2008, as well as playing a prominent role in their surprise 1-1 draw against mighty Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the group stages of the 2008-09 UEFA Champions League.
Marque then headed back to France to join Grenoble where he spent a season, before helping Bastia gain promotion to Ligue 1 in a one-season stint 2012. He subsequently played for a number of clubs, including Swiss second-tier side FC Le Mont for the past two years, prior to joining DPMM.
His vast experience should help shore up Brunei’s defence and guide the younger players like Yura Indera Putera.
Pablo Rodriguez (Hougang United)
Last season’s top scorer Stipe Plazibat left for Home United, but Hougang have brought in a decent replacement in the form of former Valencia trainee Rodriguez.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has been a nomad of sorts throughout his career – playing in 12 countries on three continents since leaving his home country in his early 20s. The list includes England, Ireland, Romania, Cyprus, Honduras, India, the Philippines, Norway and the Maldives.
Almost everywhere he has gone, he could guarantee goals – finishing as the top scorer for Maldivian club Maziya S&RC in 2015 (17 goals in 27 league games) and Indonesian outfit Madura United in 2016 (14 in 33).
The 1.9m forward has been rather prolific in pre-season – scoring against Pahang FA, Army United and SAFSA – and that can only bode well for the season ahead for the Cheetahs.