So the Malaysian Super League has finally come to an end. While it left many Malaysians bitter after Singapore Lions XII won the league title, Perak fans have more reasons to be frustrated.
The Seladangs finished 8th in the table, four notches below their 2012 position. But the frustration wasn’t only in the league standing. It has plenty to do with the team’s performance throughout the season, as well.
When team manager Khairul Azwan announced Perak’s signing of Farizal Marlias, Abdul Hadi Yahya, S. Chanturu and even V. Thirumurugan, it motivated the Perak fans.
After years of suffering, the team was now equipping itself with players, who were supposedly able to lead Perak’s bid for silverware in the coming season.
We even snapped up Rafael Novais from Bangkok Glass FC, while acquiring French forward, Karim Rouani. Fans had complete trust in the management’s decision to bring in these players, but it backfired.
Hadi Yahya was indeed the league’s top scorer in 2011, but it would not take a genius to understand that he was no longer the man that terrorised defenders like before.
Hadi had a below-par season with Terengganu in 2012 and signing him as a second striker would have sufficed. But to sign him as the main striker was disastrous. He scored three goals throughout the campaign.
Then we have the curious case of Karim Rouani, who was signed out of desperation. Perak FA was running short of time to finalise a foreign striker and they ended up securing the service of a forward who brought back memories of the 2012 flop, Lazar Popovic. And by the time we actually replaced him with Paulo Rangel, it was already April.
But ultimately, our major problem was nothing other than consistency. The Seladangs showed glimpses of brilliance every now and then, but then falter in the following game.
One fine example was when we defeated Johor Darul Takzim 3-0 at home before going down to Felda United 3-1 in the following game. It was hard to fathom for many, including coach Azraai Khor himself. Being consistent was so difficult that Perak could not even muster two back-to-back victories throughout the season.
However, as in every situation, there is always a silver lining. Contrary to the performance of the Perak senior team, the Perak President Cup squad continued its winning ways by retaining their President Cup title for the second time.
Abu Bakar Fadzim’s charges were impressive in their own way, with star striker G. Mugenthiran netting 14 goals in the process. They mustered 23 wins, drew seven matches, losing only three throughout the season, which is an impressive record.
With the Malaysia Cup next on the agenda for Perak FA, it will be interesting to see what sort of approach Azraai Khor will adopt.
Perhaps he would try to loan several names from other teams, or maybe he would tinker around the highly capable President Cup players. Either way, Perak FA has to bounce back and stamp its authority from the group stages onwards.
The Malaysia Cup is a different ball game entirely. Meaning, if the Seladangs are composed and take every match as it comes, there is a possibility they can salvage some pride before year’s end.
Original article at Ipoh Echo.