Top Malaysian football club FC Perak's efforts to sign Indian star Bhaichung Bhutia have come a cropper and they have now opted for an upcoming Indonesian from the tsunami-wrecked Aceh.
The 28-year-old Bhutia, who played on loan for Perak for 10 weeks last season to play in the Malaysia Cup Competition, was high on the club's choice following the exit of three strikers - Malaysian national team players Khalid Jamlus and V Saravanan and Liberian Frank Seator.
But Perak, who were looking to strengthen the team before the start of the Super League season, were told recently that East Bengal have extended Bhutia's contract to May.
The Indian player also got married last month and might prefer to remain at home for the moment, The Star newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The report also said Bhutia had sounded out his interest of playing for Perak to team manager Datuk Jamal Nasir Rasdi after his 10-week loan stint.
With Bhutia out of the picture, Perak have opted for 20-year-old Rachmana Dani from the tsunami-wrecked Aceh as one of their foreign players.
Dani followed the team back to Perak for selection trials after the Aceh Governor's Invitation Cup on December 13 and that probably saved him from the killer waves on December 26.
"I feel it's a social obligation to hire him.
Furthermore, for the Asian Football Condeferation (AFC) Championship, we can hire up to five imported players," Jamal said.