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 By Paul Murphy

Kelantan strengthen squad for 2018 season after avoiding relegation

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and Dez Corkhill discuss Kelantan's great escape from relegation and prospects for the 2018 season.
Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson break down the MSL finale between Kelantan and Melaka United.

Kelantan have made moves to strengthen their squad by signing Brazilian centre-back Cassio de Jesus and extending the contract of midfielder Morgaro Gomis.

Cassio joins from Indonesian Liga 1 side Semen Padang, and the Red Warriors will hope he can help prevent another season of struggle.

Kelantan avoided relegation by just one point as they ended the 2017 Malaysia Super League (MSL) season in 10th place.

28-year-old Cassio had spent his career with various clubs in his homeland before moving to Indonesia in 2016. But his time in Liga 1 ended on a sour note as Semen Padang were relegated to Liga 2 at the end of this year's campaign.

While Cassio is new to Malaysia, securing Senegal's Gomis for another season provides some continuity and valuable experience. The 32-year-old former Birmingham City and Dundee United midfielder has impressed in the MSL, and Kelantan will be happy to see him sign a new deal.

Rasmi : @morgarogomis sah untuk terus kekal bersama Kelantan 2018. GKG! 🔴⚪️🤙🏽💪🏼

A post shared by Kelantan FC - Pride and Soul (@kelantan_fc_pride_and_soul) on

In addition to the arrival of Cassio and extension of Gomis' stay, Kelantan also welcomed South Korean winger Do Dong-hyun to the club last month.

Do began his career at Brisbane Roar but failed to establish himself before spells in Japan and India preceded his move to Malaysia.

Still just 24 years old, Do impressed in UiTM FC's Liga Premier campaign this year, catching the eye of Kelantan.

With two non-Asian foreign players on board in addition to Do, Kelantan still have room for a couple more signings from outside Malaysia.

The club's glory days are becoming increasingly distant, with various financial issues hampering the club since it won the MSL title in 2011 and 2012.

These signings may not capture the imagination but the club is at least being proactive as it attempts to build a squad that can improve on the 2017 performance.

Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK

 

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