Football: Chiang becomes a Warrior again after two years

Right-back Jeremy Chiang is confident he can get back to his best after a two-year hiatus from the S-League.
Right-back Jeremy Chiang is confident he can get back to his best after a two-year hiatus from the S-League.

The S-League transfer window closed yesterday and it was a retired footballer whose move caught the eye.

After a two-year hiatus, Jeremy Chiang, 31, is back in the domestic league. He joined former club Warriors FC, penning a deal that will tie him to the club till the end of the season.

The right-back was left without a team after the S-League introduced an age-restriction policy in 2014. The rule was rescinded after a widespread backlash, but by then, Chiang, who was recovering from a knee injury, was unable to find another club.

But he did not lose hope and remained in contact with the Warriors' management. When the chance to join Razif Onn's side came along, he jumped at it.

"I still have to pass the 2.4km test, but that is not a problem. I was 10 seconds off the 9min 30sec mark after just three days of training," said Chiang, who spent the time out growing his food and beverage business with wife Png Suyi.

"Of course there's still some work to be done before I am 100 per cent match-fit, but I can definitely get back to my best."

The Warriors also signed goalkeeper Basil Chan to provide competition to Yazid Yasin.

Struggling Balestier Khalsa, currently languishing second from bottom in the nine-team table, also made waves with their signing of Croatian striker Niko Tokic, 27.

He replaced fellow Croat Robert Pericic as one of Balestier's foreign players. Tokic joined as a free agent after his contract with Croatian second-tier outfit Hrvatski Dragovoljac expired. There, he scored six goals in 21 games.

Coach Marko Kraljevic expects the 1.86m hit-man to help take the scoring burden off Miroslav Kristic, who plundered 16 goals last season but has only two strikes to his name this term.

Kraljevic, who guided the Tigers to fourth place last year, said: "We have high expectations for Niko. His job is not only to score goals but also to help take the pressure off Miro, who plays better alongside a target man and between the lines.

"Once the two of them start scoring, I'm very confident we can bounce back."

Geylang International also added firepower to their ranks as they signed Filipino Mark Hartmann. The 24-year-old striker, who has seven goals in 18 games for his country, replaced Branko Cubrilo as one of the Eagles' foreign players.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2016, with the headline 'Chiang becomes a Warrior again after two years'. Print Edition | Subscribe