Balestier get dose of Niko tonic

Balestier's new signing Tokic (left-most player) joining his team-mates in a yoga session on Wednesday. He has made an immediate impact, scoring once and notching two assists in two games.
Balestier's new signing Tokic (left-most player) joining his team-mates in a yoga session on Wednesday. He has made an immediate impact, scoring once and notching two assists in two games.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

With only 12 goals in 14 games so far this season, Balestier Khalsa hold the unwanted record of being the S-League's lowest-scoring side, but that might soon change with the arrival of Niko Tokic.

The Croatian forward signed for the eighth-placed Tigers last month and hit the ground running, scoring on his debut last week in a 2-2 home draw with Hougang United.

He also played a vital role in Balestier's 3-1 away victory over Home United on Tuesday, when he notched two assists. The win also saw Balestier score more than two goals in a game for the first time this year.

With the side unbeaten since his arrival with five goals scored in two matches, it is safe to say that the 27-year-old has settled in well.

"It was a good start for me at the club and I hope I can bring some quality to this team," said Tokic.

"Before I came, the club haven't had too many victories so I'm here to give my 100 per cent and do my best to help the club start winning again."

The 1.85m target man has had spells in his native Croatia, Hong Kong and Lithuania, where he emerged as the Baltic nation's leading league scorer in 2014 with top-tier side FK Siauliai, notching 19 goals in 35 games. But while he hopes to also be a scoring hit in Singapore, his main goal is to help Balestier, who finished fourth last season, climb up the table.

"Whether I score five, 10, 15 goals - it doesn't matter. What's important is for Balestier to pick up victories and win every game," he said.

Coach Marko Kraljevic said Tokic's physical presence up front has added to the team.

He said: "The boys are happy with him and everyone is starting to gel together very nicely. Hopefully, Niko's arrival brings something positive for the club going into the second half of the season."

Yogaraj Panditurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'Balestier get dose of Niko tonic'. Print Edition | Subscribe