Papé Diakité in HCMC FC jersey. Photo courtesy of HCMC FC.
Papé Diakité will continue playing football in Vietnam by joining Saigon FC after parting ways with HCMC FC.
“We have signed Diakité for the second leg of the season. We will also decide which foreign player could be replaced by him,” Saigon coach Phung Thanh Phuong said, as cited by local media.
Diakité was a key player in HCMC’s defensive line in the 2020 season. But when Brazilian Mano Polking became the club’s head manager this season, Diakité was not named in the squad for the first leg of the 2021 season, making way for the recently signed Brazilian striker Junior Barros.
Although HCMC did not register Diakité for the 2021 season, they still kept him at the club and let him train with the youth team until the eighth round of V. League, when the 28-year-old decided to leave.
Diakité had previously said goodbye to Vietnam in a post on Facebook, but he eventually continued his journey here by signing with Saigon.
With five losses in a row, Saigon are at the bottom of V. League 2021 with only six points after eight games. Therefore, finding a new quality foreign player is considered a top priority to improve the club’s results.
Saigon’s current foreign players have not been in good form since the start of this season. The 40-year-old Japanese midfielder Daisuke Matsui could not play all matches due to his age, as with 35-year-old Japanese striker Hiroyuki Takasaki. Brazilian center-back Thiago Santos did not help improve Saigon’s defense as the club conceded 10 goals after eight games.
Diakité will start playing for Saigon in the second leg of the season, starting from round 11 on April 27-28.