North Queensland Fury has bolstered its defence for the new A-League season with the signing of Togo international Eric Akoto.
Having earned 56 caps for Togo, 29-year-old Akoto will add steel to a defence that let in too many goals last season.
He also offers valuable perspective on life having been on board the Togolese team bus that was ambushed during the African Cup of nations, resulting in the deaths of the bus driver, an assistant coach and a team official.
"I'm very happy and honoured to now call myself a North Queensland Fury player," Akoto said.
"The A-League has a growing reputation around the world as a very competitive and highly skilful league.
"And it's this, combined with the great set-up here at the Fury, which attracted me to Australia.
"I've been able to watch a couple of training sessions since I arrived in Townsville and I'm impressed with the squad we have.
"As one of the senior players, I hope to be able to pass on my knowledge to those around me and help play my part in a successful season for the North Queensland Fury."
Fury head coach Franz Straka spoke strongly of the defensive depth he was building, having already signed Mark Hughes and Andre Kilian.
"This is a massive signing for the Fury, both in terms of talent and profile," said Straka, who first observed Akoto when both took part in the Austrian league.
"Eric has a wealth of experience at the very top level, having represented Togo and played for some top clubs in Europe.
"He is a strong, athletic player who reads the game extremely well and leads from the back.
"To win matches, a side must have a strong defence.
"And I believe we now have a defensive roster that rivals any in the A-League."
Akoto had been playing for Crete in the Greek second division.
Osama Malik said that after a season of rebirth under Joseph Gombau it would be a bitter pill to swallow if Adelaide United was eliminated at the same stage as last season.