New recruit wants to bring back Warriors' glory days
|WARRIORS FC||TAMPINES ROVERS|
Eastern Europe has always provided Warriors FC with a route to glory and their latest recruit from Romania wants this tradition to go on.
Andrei Ciolacu, who arrived in Singapore just last Sunday, replaces Dutch-Congolese striker Joel Tshibamba, 28, who was released after scoring only four goals in eight appearances.
Ciolacu, 24, played for ASA Targu Mures in the second-tier Romanian league last year.
He believes he can help the Warriors get back to winning ways - just as other Eastern Europeans had done in the past.
Croatian imports such as Jure Eres and Mirko Grabovac starred during the Warriors' title-winning years from the late 1990s to early 2000s, while Bosnian-born Aleksandar Duric spearheaded their attack when they won an unprecedented four consecutive titles from 2006 to 2009.
The Choa Chu Kang-based club's faith in Eastern Europeans continued to reap dividends, with Croatian striker Mislav Karoglan a key figure in their 2012 Singapore Cup-winning run, while his fellow countrymen Miroslav Pejic and Marin Vidosevic were instrumental when they won their record ninth S.League title in 2014.
I believe we can win the title. Warriors’ Andrei Ciolacu
And, if Ciolacu can walk the talk, the Warriors' faithful will have plenty to look forward to.
"I believe we can win the title - Warriors FC are a consistent team, I read up before I came, and I know what I signed up for," he said.
"Foreign players are always big plusses for teams (in Singapore). Coach Razif (Onn) has told me my main role is to score goals so that's what I'm going to do.
"But the most important thing is the victory. I can help by scoring goals or with assists."
Razif, 63, has been impressed with his new signing.
He said: "I need a striker who can finish in the box. Andrei is still young so I believe he can do better than Tshibamba (did).
"I've seen him in a few training sessions and I can safely say he's been very impressive."
Although his work permit had yet to be approved at press time, Ciolacu is not taking it easy.
He was the last to leave the pitch during Tuesday's training, staying back for extra shooting drills after the regular session had ended.
Ciolacu, who turns 25 on Aug 9, believes it's no coincidence that he shares the same birthday as Singapore.
He said: "I think it's destiny, I'm fated to be here. Singapore is a great city. I'm here to explore the Asian experience and I already feel completely at home here."