Singapure

Singapore’s Lion City Sailors sign former Ajax forward Richairo Zivkovic

SINGAPORE: Singapore Premier League (SPL) club Lion City Sailors have signed former Ajax forward Richairo Zivkovic.

The 26-year-old joins the Sailors on a one-year contract. He is the club’s second signing of the 2023 SPL mid-season transfer window, following the signing of former Sunderland defender Bailey Wright.

Zivkovic will add “firepower to the club’s concerted challenge for the SPL title and pursuit of improved performances at the Asian Football Confederation’s top-tier club competition, the AFC Champions League”, said the Lion City Sailors in a press release on Tuesday (Jul 11).

The forward was born in the Netherlands and plays international football for Curacao. He last turned out for Dutch club FC Emmen in the Eredivisie last season before they were relegated.

In the 2021/22 season, Zivkovic won the Serbian league and cup double with Red Star Belgrade.

As a 17-year-old, the forward scored 11 goals in 37 appearances for FC Groningen, before he was signed by Ajax Amsterdam.

He went on to play for Belgian side KV Oostende, Chinese team Changchun Yatai and was on loan at Sheffield United.

“Richairo gives us an additional dimension to our attack with his speed and instinctive goal-scoring ability,” said new Lions City Sailors head coach Aleksandar Rankovic, who was appointed in June.

“I’m confident that he will pose big problems to opposition defences and help us get the goals we need in our push for the league title.”

Rankovic joined the Sailors on a two-year contract from Eredivisie side FC Utrecht, where he was assistant manager.

Lion City Sailors are currently second in the SPL, two points off reigning champion Albirex Niigata. The club’s next match is against Brunei DPMM on Tuesday night.

Zivkovic said: “This is a project with a clear vision all the way from the academy to the first team, and that’s one aspect that I really like, and feel that I can get behind – it was easy for me to come to a decision once I found out what the Sailors are about.”

He added: “I’m here to score goals and help the team with my experience. With the solid squad that we have here, I believe we can definitely win the league and do well in the ACL.”

He will wear the number 34 jersey in tribute to former Ajax teammate Abdelhak Nouri, who suffered cardiac arrhythmia in 2017 and is recovering.

Besides the new signings, the foreign players in the Lion City Sailors squad include Belgian Maxime Lestienne and former Rio Ave midfielder Diego Lopes.

Lion City Sailors were established in 2020 and is owned by Singapore tech firm Sea.

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