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Rovers will scour far and wide - as Malaysian gets chance
SHEBBY Singh insists it is important Blackburn Rovers cast their scouting net far and wide in the search of “undiscovered gems’ – as defender Titus James Palani gets given the chance to become the first Malaysian in English football.
The 26-year-old, who plays for French Third Division outfit Nanteuil, will begin a trial at Brockhall next Thursday and he admits the invitation is a “dream come true”.
The left sided player held preliminary talks with Rovers’ global advisor Singh in Malaysia on Wednesday night and will bid to earn a professional contract with the Championship club.
Some will see Palani’s opportunity as an attempt by Indian owners Venky’s and Singh to spread Rovers’ name in Asia but Singh is adamant the offer is not just “a marketing ploy”.
He is adamant Rovers are prepared to give lower league players a chance to impress at Ewood Park - no matter what their nationality - but insists they will only be signed if they are deemed good enough.
Singh told the Lancashire Telegraph: “Players from all over the world will get their chance at Blackburn Rovers and it is down to them to take it. We can provide the opportunity but it is down to them in the end.
“We hope Titus can be a player from the lower leagues who has had his real potential spotted but, if he isn’t the right one, we hope we can find some who are.
“We think spreading the net wide is very important, this is serious business now. We will be looking in the lower leagues in England and all over the world, in case there is that player that has been missed.”
Palani was signed by French outfit Le Havre at the age of 12, having scored a hat-trick for a rest of the world team against Barcelona academy in an exhibition match during the 1998 World Cup.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, he has enjoyed spells in the French lower leagues but is now determined to ‘give everything’ in his pursuit of his dream.
He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “It is a dream come true for me. I will give it my best and hopefully it will be enough. If I do make it I will be the first Malaysian footballer in English football.
“I saw Shebby in Malaysia earlier this week. He was one of my first coaches when I was a boy back home.”
Malaysian footballers Mohd Safee Sali and Safiq Rahim have had past trials with Cardiff City but work permit problems cut their bids short. Singh is hopeful Palani won’t have permit problems having played in France for the past 10 years.