The Wellington Phoenix have opened up an import spot on their roster after releasing Solomon Islands international Benji Totori.
Totori still had one year left of his two-year contract but had a limited impact in last season's disappointing Phoenix campaign when the club finished last in the A-League. New coach Ernie Merrick couldn't guarantee Totori regular game time so the decision was made to terminate his contract but the Phoenix have negotiated with Oakleigh Cannons to offer him a contract for the remainder of the Victoria Premier League season.
"That will give Benji more exposure and we may also look at bringing him back to New Zealand through our feeder club Team Wellington for the 2013-14 ASB Championship season,'' Phoenix general manager David Dome said.
Totori's departure opens up a space for another import on the club's roster - each club are allowed five imports - meaning they have two spots to fill.
Merrick has moved quickly to clarify the situation around his squad for next season, confirming last weekend five players, including All Whites left-back Tony Lochhead, wouldn't be offered new contracts. The players started pre-season training this week.