Gżira United wrapped up a hectic week in the transfer market with the signing of another foreign player, Souleymane Diamoutene.
The Mali defender, who was part of the Pescara squad that secured promotion to the Serie A last season, marked his first appearance for the Maroons with a goal in a friendly match against Floriana on Saturday.
The game finished one-all.
Although Diamoutene is short of optimal fitness, his encouraging performance in Saturday’s warm-up was enough to convince Gżira United coach Branko Nisevic and the club committee, headed by president Sharlon Pace, to offer him a contract.
Diamoutene yesterday evening signed a one-year deal with an option for another year and should be available for Gżira’s Premier League opener against Tarxien Rainbows on Friday evening.
The 33-year-old, who has made 48 appearances for Mali but also holds an Italian passport, has an interesting CV after spending most of his professional football career in Italy.
He has turned out for a host of clubs, including Lucchese, Perugia and Lecce, and also had short loan spells with Roma and Bari.
For a time, Gżira were also mulling a move for Birkirkara defender-cum-midfielder Emerson Marcelina but their interest has now cooled following the signing of Diamoutene.
Brazilian Marcelina, who spent the second half of last season on loan with Floriana, is believed to be surplus to requirements at Birkirkara.
The arrival of Diamoutene is testament to Gżira’s ambition to field a competitive team in their first campaign in the top division for more than three decades.
The Maroons have been one of the busiest clubs in the close season, especially in the last two weeks when the club upped its recruitment drive.
Apart from Diamoutene, Gżira, who were promoted to the Premier League as Division One champions, also secured the services of two Brazilian players – Robert de Pinho de Souza and Joceano da Silva Santos.
The much-travelled Robert is a 35-year-old striker who, in the past, played for Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and Spanish club Real Betis.
Robert has been capped three times by Brazil.
Joceano, 26 next month, is also a striker who spent the last two seasons with Iraqi club Al-Zawra’a SC.
Apart from their efforts to recruit new foreigners, Gżira have also added a few Maltese players to their squad, including Malta defender Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, young Hibs goalkeeper Juergen Borg and left-back Jacob Borg.
Forward John Nwoba is also poised to rejoin the Maroons.
Schembri makes Boavista bow
Andrè Schembri yesterday made his official debut for Portuguese club Boavista.
The Malta forward played 77 minutes of Boavista’s opening league match at home to Arouca before making way for Diogo Caldas.
Boavista won the match 2-0.
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