PERAK are sweating on the eligibility of new signing Paolo Rangel to make his debut against PKNS in Lumut today as they seek to win a Super League match at home for the first time in seven weeks.
The Brazilian striker's international transfer certificate (ITC) has yet to arrive but Perak coach Azraai Khor Abdullah is confident Rangel will be able to take to the pitch today.
Azraai hopes the arrival of Rangel, a replacement for Frenchman Karim Rouaini, will provide the impetus for ninth-placed Perak to move up the table. "He is a player who has flair and is good in the air. He is more of a team player rather than the typical (individualistic) Brazilian.
"Rangel has been training and playing friendly matches with us for three weeks, so he should fit straight into the team.
"There is no issue with his fitness either despite not having played competitive football for a while," said Azraai yesterday.
Azraai said Rangel's previous club Muangthong United had sent his ITC to the Thailand FA and Perak are only awaiting receipt by the FA of Malaysia.
"We have registered Rangel and we expect to receive the ITC either today or tomorrow. I'm confident he will be in the squad against PKNS," added Azraai.
Perak also welcome back winger S. Chanturu after a month out of action but full-back V. Thirumurugan (hamstring) is at least two weeks away from returning.
A Rafiudin Roddin goal gave Perak a 1-0 win over PKNS in Shah Alam on March 30 before going down 2-1 to leaders LionsXII last weekend in a display which Azraai admitted was bad.
"We played badly and the players were uncomfortable playing on the artificial pitch. But that was a game we wanted to get over with and now we can look forward," said Azraai.
PKNS will be the last visitors to the Navy Stadium as the Perak Stadium is expected to be ready for Perak's first match in Ipoh this year against Darul Takzim on April 27. By Devinder Singh