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 By Gabriel Tan

Tampines' Louis Clark out for S.League season, Madhu joins from Warriors

Tampines Rovers' preparations for the new S.League season have been rocked following an injury to new foreign signing Louis Clark, but they have strengthened by bringing Madhu Mohana onboard.

The Stags, one of the S.League's traditional heavyweights, are in the process of finalising their squad for the 2017 campaign.

Back at the start of November, it looked as though a key piece of the jigsaw had arrived in the form of English striker Clark, when the club announced his signing from Philippine outfit Kaya FC.

However, it has now emerged that the transfer will not go through after the 26-year-old suffered a serious injury.

According to the Straits Times, a freak accident saw Clark sustain significant damage to his ankle, including cartilage tear, after getting his foot stuck in a pothole while jogging back home in England.

Nonetheless, in better news for Tampines, the club confirmed the signing of Warriors FC's Madhu, who looks set to play a key role for them in defence.

#TRFC have signed @louisclark from @kayafc The 26-year-old has scored 39 goals in 54 appearances in the two seasons.

A photo posted by Tampines Rovers FC (@tampinesroversfc) on

Despite an indifferent 2016 at club level, with Warriors finishing third-from-bottom in the S.League, the 25-year-old rediscovered his form and was one of Singapore's few bright sparks as they were eliminated from the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup at the group stage.

Not only is Madhu looking forward to a change of scenery, but he is also relishing the prospect of Asian football with the Stags guaranteed a spot in the AFC Cup, although they will also be competing in the qualifying playoffs for the Champions League.

"One of the main reasons I joined Tampines was because of the continental competitions, so that I can compete at a higher level," Madhu told the Straits Times.

"Last season wasn't my best and I'm looking forward to a fresh start.

"I hope to bring some aggression to the team and to win at least a title with Tampines."

Meanwhile, Madhu's arrival was welcomed by Stags coach Akbar Nawas, who is confident his new charge has all the necessary attributes to be a hit.

"He can play across the backline and is a threat from set-pieces," explained Akbar.

"But what I really like about Madhu is his ability to turn defence into attack with his interceptions.

"He's good with the ball at his feet and is a great signing."

Madhu will be one of just several Singapore internationals calling the Jurong West Stadium their home next year, although one that could be on his way out is midfielder Hafiz Abu Sujad.

26-year-old Hafiz, who was the only local nominee for last year's Player of the Year award, is set to have trials with Sisaket FC and Big Bang Chula United.

Gabriel Tan is a TV and radio pundit who writes for ESPN FC and The New Paper on Southeast Asian football. Twitter: @gabetan13.


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