Nafuzi keen to extract more goals from Souza

KUALA LUMPUR: Kedah's new coach, Nafuzi Zain, is delighted with the immediate impact Brazilian hitman Willian Lira Souza has made since joining the football team.

Souza has already found the back of the net for Kedah in a series of friendlies at the Darul Aman Stadium. He scored a goal in Kedah's 4-0 win over Perlis on Jan 13 and a brace in their 2-0 win over Kelantan yesterday.

Kedah have been clamouring for a prolific striker who can score 20 goals per season as their forwards have not been able to breach the 15 goal mark over the last three seasons.

The 29-year-old Souza had helped his former club Ventforet Kofu (Japan) win their first Emperor's Cup last year. He scored 63 goals from 70 appearances during his time with them (2021-2022).

Nafuzi, who had previously coached Terengganu, is hoping Souza can continue his good form with the Canaries.

"A striker's job is to score goals, and last night, he scored two, it's a positive sign for him and the team," said Nafuzi.

"We have only been training for 10 days (so far) so, I'm very happy with the players' performance, they tried to give their best. However, I do need to monitor a number of aspects.

"The players looked a bit nervous in the Darul Aman Stadium as there was a big crowd despite it being only a friendly. We will get better after more training and matches."

Kedah have big ambitions this season and are hoping to end their silverware drought. The last competition they won was the 2019 FA Cup under Singaporean coach Aidil Sharin Sahak.

The team have signed some seasoned Super League faces this year, including Argentine forward Manuel Hidalgo, Filipino midfielder Manuel Ott and naturalised Malaysian international Lee Tuck.

In addition to Souza, they also have signed Serbian defender Bojan Ciger and Tajikistani midfielder Amirbek Juraboev and South African defender Alan Robertson.

The squad will next week head to Turkiye for pre-season training, where they are expected to play several friendly matches against clubs from Turkiye and Uzbekistan.

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