Sun Pegasus are banking on the Balkans as they look to an improved season with a greatly improved budget.
While most of the First Division teams have attempted to add some Brazilian magic to their squads, Pegasus, whose budget for the next season will be HK$13 million, an increase of more than 30 per cent on last season, showed off a trio of players from central and southern Europe at their first training session at Tsing Yi Sports Ground yesterday.
Former Bosnia international Admir Rascic, who has signed from FK Borac Banja Luka, seems to have the most impressive pedigree. The other two are midfielder Aleksandar Randelovic (Serbia) and goalkeeper Josip Skoric (Croatia).
Head coach Chan Chi-hong gave a vote of confidence to his new charges and aimed high for the season.
"The Brazilians are very good players, but most of those who come to Hong Kong are from the lower divisions of the country," Chan said. "Our signings are from top-tier Eastern European leagues and have played highly competitive matches. If they can adjust to the conditions, I am sure they will be able to bring us success."
Of the new overseas players, striker Rascic, 31, looks set to add considerable firepower. He has played for several leading teams in Eastern Europe, and has been capped twice for Bosnia.
"This is a new experience for me, playing in this part of the world, but I hope I can bring Pegasus silverware with my skills and experience in soccer," the towering 192cm striker said.
"I need to settle in as quickly as possible and so far everything has run smoothly, except the hot and humid weather. But I am sure I can overcome it after going through pre-season."
Pegasus failed to impress in the early part of last season and were left battling in the relegation zone despite their relatively large budget. Chan promised that would change.
"We have added quality to the team with an increased budget and our target is to stay in the top three throughout the season and mount a serious challenge for the league title," the coach said. "We also aim to do well in the cup competitions with qualification for the regional AFC Cup our ultimate goal."