Jancula beefs up South China strike force

Former Instant-Dict marksman Martin Jancula has answered South China's prayers by agreeing to a season's contract with the Caroliners. With the new season just days away, South China were desperate to sign a new striker after the club's summer signing, Brazilian forward Sandro Rogerio Preigschat, failed to live up to his promise.

Slovakian Jancula was one of the best signings of last season and the 28-year-old made the most of his three-month stint in Hong Kong by scoring 10 goals with the FA Cup winners.

South China are confident Jancula will help the Caroliners return to glory days after the club finished last season empty handed. 'Jancula is a proven goalscorer and a good striker and we are pleased to have signed him. He is a dangerous man upfront and is also strong in the air,' said South China team director Peter Leung.

'He is a valuable addition to our team and we are confident he will lead the way by scoring consistently. He was chiefly responsible for beating South China in the final of the FA Cup [Instant-Dict won 2-1] and I am glad he is now on our side.

'Unfortunately, he will not be able to play for us in this week's [Lucozade Sport] seven-a-side tournament because of the time constraints for registering players. But he is fit and ready for the new season,' Leung said.

Jancula played his first senior game for Instant-Dict in April when he bagged four goals in a 11-1 FA Cup rout against Rangers. Since then, he has been a model of consistency, scoring eight times in 11 outings.

With Jancula signed, South China may release Preigschat, who was on trial and has been a disappointment despite his impressive overseas record.

The 30-year-old Brazilian was top goalscorer in Brazil with 51 goals during the 1999-2000 season. He earned a move to FC Bruges in Belgium from Brazilian Fourth Division side Esporte Clube Fortaleza, but he has not been able to show his true worth in training matches here.

Jancula is the second major signing from rivals Instant-Dict. South China also acquired the services of former Hong Kong Footballer of the Year Ricky Cheng Siu-chung last month. Cheng returns to the Caroliners for the third time after stints with Happy Valley and Instant-Dict.

South China had released most of their foreign players, retaining only defender Cristiano Cordeiro. The Caroliners have released midfielder Gerry Laterza and Fernando de Ornelas, who are now both playing for Venezuelan First Division side Monada.