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Tom’s Transfer Talk – 7 Jan 2017

 

The big news is that former La Liga forward Asdrubal has become Port’s third Spanish signing, as regular readers of The Sandpit will already know.

A lot else has happened since the last Transfer Talk though, so we’ve got a lot to cover here. Let’s start with what didn’t happen.

Bernardo Cuesta, 28

As we suspected a couple of weeks ago, Frenchman Saer Sene didn’t do enough to earn himself a contract, meaning that attention turned to the ‘mystery Argentine’ – the subject of our last Transfer Talk – who was expected to be unveiled after new year. It was eventually revealed that the forward in question was Bernardo Cuesta, but he ultimately decided to stay with FBC Melgar in Peru. With no potential signings on the horizon and the start of the season getting closer, eyebrows were starting to be raised.

Then came Asdrubal. The relatively short but stocky 25 year old forward has been at Las Palmas since the age of 6, but decided to join the ever-growing Spanish contingent at Port as he was stuck on the fringes of the squad, unable to force his way in to the First XI. We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to bring in a player of his calibre with La Liga experience, and somehow we don’t think he’ll have the same problem here!

In other news, Transfer Talk favourite Panpanpong Pinkong’s move to Khlong Toei is now confirmed, meaning he will battle it out with Piyachart (23) and Suchon (11) for a regular starting berth at left back, The Sandpit are already sharpening our puncils.

Watchara, 23

The battle to be next season’s starting goalkeeper has also claimed it’s first victim. Watchara (1), who was loaned to BBCU last season, will once again make the temporary move to The Pink Panthers, leaving Worawut (36) and youngster Rattanai (17) to slug it out for a starting place.

Now after all of that confirmed news, we finish with our bread and butter: good old fashioned gossip.

As we reported earlier in the closed season, all of last season’s foreign players from 2016 besides talisman David Rochela are likely to be replaced. With Rochela already being joined by countrymen Sergio Suarez and Asdrubal, two foreign spots remain; one for any nationality, and one for an Asian player (Dolah is not included as he is half Thai). We are hearing whispers that the final two foreign players will be announced next week on January 11th, the day before the team go for a 6 day training camp to Hua Hin. Once again there is no word on who the new signings might be, but it seems likely that the club will be going after a left winger to replace Genki, and either another striker or an attacking midfielder.

Tom’s Transfer Talk will be back to be discuss the results – or lack thereof – of the January 11th announcement. We hope to be reporting more good news!

 

Tom’s Transfer Talk – 21 Dec 2016

 

Today, Tom’s Transfer Talk brings you the seasonal Port FC Advent Calendar edition. You remember what is was like when you were a kid and you used to stare at that final box – the Christmas Day one – but you knew you couldn’t open it yet. The box was slightly bigger than all the others. What was going to be in there? It might just be a slightly bigger chocolate, but it might be something completely different. The suspense!

Anyway, that’s how we feel when we hear rumours from Siam Sport saying that Port are making a marquee Argentine signing, but we’re not going to find out who it is until after the New Year. We wouldn’t be much of a transfer column unless we speculated on who the arrival might be, so with our journalistic integrity on the line we’re going to say that it’s almost certainly Leo Messi. At the very least, we can’t rule it out. It could be Messi. Anything could be in that box.

Panpanpong Pinkong, 29

Leaving the potential signing of multiple Ballon d’Or winners aside, let’s move on to the not quite so interesting but slightly more realistic business of the verbally challenging trialists Panpanpong Pinkong and Tatchanon Nakarawong.

Tongue-twisting left back Panpanpong, formerly of Bangkok United and Osotspa, has been training with Port for at least a week, and has taken part in the last two friendlies, being preferred to Piyachart (23) in what looks like Jadet’s current first XI. Panpanpong has not been particularly impressive, however, whereas Piyachart was Port’s best player in the second half against Pahang FA. Whilst we think that the 29 year old could make a useful addition to the squad, it is doubtful whether he will be first choice if he is eventually signed.

20 year old Tatchanon, previously of Army United, has also featured with the first XI, playing alongside impressive new signing Sergio Suarez and Sivakorn (16) in a midfield three. Tatchanon has gone about his business quietly, keeping play ticking over and allowing Suarez and Sivakorn to thrive, but again has not really done anything to make himself stand out. At just 20, he could be one for the future, but is unlikely to feature prominently in the TPL next season, even if he does make the move to Khlong Toei.

Saer Sene, 30

Finally, we are once again left scratching our heads over French trialist Saer Sene. He did what he needed to do and scored against Pahang, but is he fit? And is he really that good? There’s undoubtedly potential there, but in such an important position, and with flops Brent McGrath, Kayne Vincent and Thiago Cunha still fresh in the memory, can Port afford to take a risk up front?

With the squad scheduled to go on their New Year holidays on the 24th, it’s possible that we have seen the last of Sene, and that the mystery Argentine will be with the squad next time they meet. Or not. It is all gossip after all, and we still have no idea what’s in that damn box!

 

MATCH REPORT: Port FC 1-1 Pahang FA

 

Pahang FA held Port to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, but the result didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the home fans, who brought the noise to PAT Stadium for the first time since the stadium ban took effect in September.

The Zone B Fans

Since then Port fans have been itching to get back on the terraces to cheer on their team, and yesterday they finally had their chance. A few hundred fans hungry for football – and a few dozen particularly thirsty for Leo – saw Port slip to a disappointing draw against a side they should probably have beaten.

Pahang FA play in the Malaysian Super League – where they finished 9th last season – but Port’s first half performance indicated that they were much the stronger side. The first half side was almost identical to the one fielded at Navy on Thursday. The only change was in goal, where Weera (40), who if we’re honest we had completely forgotten about, played a quiet but mistake-free 45 minutes. In front of him was a back four of Rochela (22), Dolah (38), Meechok (20) and a former Bangkok United player currently on trial at Port, the superbly named Panpanpong Pinkong (19). Suarez (4), Siwakorn (16) and a 20 year old tralist from Army – Tatchanon Nakarawong (27) – operated as a three in the centre of midfield, with Ekkapoom (8) and Pakorn (9) on the wings. Sene (40) once again started up front; determined to get on the score sheet after peppering the goal but failing to score against Navy.

The action, as seen from Zone B

Port started brightly, moving the ball through midfield with purpose. Suarez was the stand-out player, showing a nice touch and great vision. He controlled play and delivered some excellent passes out wide. His good work paid off 15 minutes in to the first half. Suarez found Pakorn on the right hand side, and Pakorn hung up an inviting cross which had Sene’s name written all over it. The towering French forward jumped so high that he actually had to stoop in mid-air to connect with the cross, but regardless he powered his header past the ‘keeper to make it 1-0.

Pahang rarely threatened the Port goal, but on one of the rare occasions they ventured forward new signing Dolah showed his strength and timing to win an important tackle and play a smart pass out in to midfield. The six foot five Thai-Swedish centre half looked calm and capable throughout the half, suggesting that he could form a formidable partnership with Rochela, although he was never really tested against the Malaysians.

Wholesale changes were made at half time again, with only Sene staying on the pitch. The second string were more evenly matched with Pahang, and they largely cancelled eachother out in a half where chances were at a premium. Genki (18) was industrious as ever, and Piyachart (23) made some enterprising runs forward, but Port couldn’t really find their rhythm. Matters were not helped when Sene was replaced by Wuttichai (14) and Maranhao (29) limped off the pitch after picking up a knock.

In the 75th minute Pahang found themselves back on level terms, and the game started to become a little feisty. Substitute Wuttichai was fouled and exchanged heated words with a Pahang defender, then seconds before the final whistle he was deservedly given his marching orders for an ugly foul, clearly an act of retribution.

Despite the not-so-friendly game ending on a sour note, the Port fans had a good day out, particularly the fans from Zone B who brought their drums and created a more upbeat atmosphere than we’re used to seeing in pre-season.

Port are yet to announce any more friendlies, but when they do The Sandpit will be sure to keep you updated.

 

MATCH REPORT: Siam Navy 2-1 Port FC

Siam Navy overcame an experimental Port side 2-1 in Thursday’s pre-season friendly.

Despite our shiny new sponsorship deal with The Sportsman, The Sandpit is not in the business of sending it’s minions to Sattahip for a weekday friendly, so this is less match report and more highlight report.

Port fielded a strong side in the first half, including regular starters Rochela (22), Meechok (20), Siwakorn (16), Ekkapoom (8) and Pakorn (9), new signings Sergio Suarez (5) and Elias Dolah (4) and French trialist Saer Sene (24). Wachara (1) who spent last season on loan at BBCU was a surprise starter in goal, and he looked determined to impress coach Jadet, coming off his line quickly to thwart a few early Navy attacks, before saving well from a free-kick. There were two players – presumably trialists – that we haven’t seen before, playing at left back (19) and centre midfield (27).

Port created a host of chances, most of which fell to Saer Sene, but the big man looked a little short of match fitness and luck, frequently hitting the target but not finding a way past the Navy ‘keeper.

In the second half Port made 9 changes, with only Dolah and Sene staying on the pitch. It didn’t take Navy long to punish the weakened side. Adisorn (13) was left for dead by a sharp turn from Navy’s left winger, and his cross was met with an unstoppable strike which went in off the crossbar.

Navy soon doubled their lead from a corner. A deep cross was headed back across goal, and neither Piyachart (23) or Todsapol (6) could react quickly enough to prevent the shot, which easily beat the flat-footed Worawut (36) in goal.

Late in the second half, Port claimed a consolation goal. With Pakorn not on the pitch free-kick duty fell to new signing Siwapong (39), and he proved himself an able deputy, finding the top left-hand corner with a well placed strike.

Port host Malaysian side Pahang FC on Sunday at PAT Stadium, where there will likely be more experimentation from Jadet. The Sandpit expects to see more game time for Sene, who will need to find the net if he is to convince the coach that he is the man to spearhead the team in the TPL.

Highlights have just appeared on Youtube, so here they are for your viewing pleasure!