Central Coast Mariners sign Ahmad Elrich
A-League runners-up Central Coast Mariners have bolstered their attack by signing former Socceroos winger Ahmad Elrich for two seasons.
Capped 17 times for Australia, 26-year-old Elrich previously played for Wellington Phoenix, making 13 appearances following his arrival as their marquee signing midway through last season.
It's the second signing for the Mariners in their off-season recruitment campaign after they earlier acquired Melbourne Victory winger Adrian Caceres.
Those acquisitions offset the departure of marquee striker John Aloisi to Sydney FC and midfielder Tom Pondeljak to the Victory.
While he has not featured for the Socceroos since September 2006, Elrich has scored five international goals including a memorable match-winner against Iraq at Sydney's ANZ Stadium in March 2005 since his February 2004 debut against Venezuela.
A season-ending knee injury suffered with the Socceroos in Kuwait for their AFC Asian Cup qualifier in September, 2006, prevented the former Fulham English Premier League player contending for a berth in last year's Asian Cup campaign.
"Our signing of Ahmad is another clear showing of our intent for season four," said Mariners executive chairman Lyall Gorman.
"While we're of course delighted with the on-field progress we made in season three, we want to go one step further in 2008/09 and by introducing a player and a person of Ahmad's quality to our line up, we are giving ourselves the best possible chance.
"We know as good as any club just how good Ahmad can be - we were on the receiving end of an absolutely stunning strike of his while in Wellington last year and we're hopeful and confident that he will be able to reproduce and surpass that level of quality in a yellow and navy shirt."