Match Preview: Reinforcements Sorely Needed to Revive Eagles' Fortunes
With the first transfer window shutting in less than 48 hours, Geylang International Football Club is running out of time to make further signings that will address weak points in the existing 22-man squad.
On the back of two consecutive defeats following a three-game unbeaten start, alarm bells are ringing louder for head coach Noor Ali and his management to resolve two glaring deficiencies in the team: left-back and centre-forward positions.
Ever since first-choice left-back Ahmad Syahir suffered a meniscus injury during pre-season, the left side of defence has been a headache for Noor.
After experimenting that spot with several players, including Huzaifah Aziz, Amirul Adli and Haikal Sukri, the 47-year-old tactician has yet to identify a candidate who can competently play that role.
In fact, it had been easy for opponents to run riot on the Eagles' left flank, which put the designated left-back mostly on the backfoot and limited his ability to provide support in attack.
The Geylang International club hierarchy seemed to have solved this conundrum by signing versatile defender Delwinder Singh.
The ex-Eagles who turned out for the Eastern-based club in the 2013 season, is adept to play across the backline and should comfortably slot in the left of defence if called upon to make his second club debut.
While the left-back problem can be attributed to the misfortune of an unexpected injury to a first-teamer, the centre-forward issue could be avoided had there been a properly thought-out transfer plan.
Geylang International not only did not hold on to the services of last season's club top goalscorer Sime Zuzul - who had moved on to Uzbek side Lokomotiv Tashkent - but they also have not secured a like-for-like replacement till date.
Certainly, there has been a high-profile signing of Yushi Yamaya who was recommended by the City Football Group. But it is to be noted that the 22-year-old arrived in Singapore with a return of two league goals from 35 games in lower-tier Japanese football.
Then came the curious purchase of Shahfiq Ghani. Once named as a man of the match by footballing legend Pele, Shahfiq is no doubt a talented player. However, he is more known for being a freekick specialist than an out-and-out striker - the former of which is likely to be surplus to requirements considering that Vincent Bezecourt and Takahiro Tezuka have already been established as the team's go-to freekick takers.
Having not found the net for the last two matches, there is no end in sight to the Eagles' goal drought with the likes of serial league champions Brunei DPMM and Albirex Niigata to come.
While other top-flight clubs may have already concluded their transfer dealings by now, it's better to be late than never for Geylang International to make a last-minute move for a proven goalscorer before the window closes on Monday.