Pune FC release striker Fabiani, sign Mustapha Riga
Pune: Pune FC on Saturday confirmed the signing of Ghanian-born former Dutch Under-21 international and Bolton Wanderers attacker Rahamat Riga Mustapha for the current I-League season.
Thirty-two-year-old Mustapha Riga joined after the club released injured striker Raul Fabiani.
The Spanish-born Equato-Guinean`s pre-mature end to a successful beginning at Pune FC came after he suffered an adductor tear during an I-League Round-5 home game against Mohun Bagan. The injury put Raul out for a minimum of four months.
With the I-League taking a break from January to March, Raul would miss more than half the season and hence the player and Pune FC agreed to part ways.
Raul and Pune FC reached a mutual settlement yesterday and the striker would be heading back to Spain to continue with his rehabilitation.
Chirag Tanna, Pune FC Head Operations said, "We wish Raul a speedy recovery and wish him luck for his future endeavours."
New signing Riga brings along the experience of playing top-flight football in the Dutch, Spanish and English leagues and joins fellow foreigners James Meyer, Douhou Pierre and Calum Angus in the squad.
Riga started his professional career in the Netherlands in 1998. He joined Dutch Eredivisie side Vitesse Arnhem as a 17-year-old, plying his trade in the youth sides of the Arnhem-based club for five years. It was during this period he worked under current Pune FC Coach Mike Snoei in Vitesse`s youth teams.
He also had a loan stint at fellow top-division side RBC Roosendaal (2000?01) in a bid to gain more experience.
Subsequently, he joined Dutch second-division side Sparta Rotterdam in 2003 in search of regular football. At Sparta, Riga once again played under Snoei who gave him opportunities.
Riga responded to Snoei?s faith and scored 26 goals in two seasons.