Tag Archives: Perak Football Team – Seladangs

Going Out With Pride


Perak football team - SeladangsIt was deja vu for Perak team as it succumbed to a second 0-1 defeat to Johor Darul Takzim at the Larkin Stadium on Friday, January 25. This time around though, it was in the FA Cup, as the Seladangs were effectively booted out in the first round by a clinical Johor side.

A few weeks before that, Perak impressed many with a resounding performance despite their 0-1 defeat to Johor in the Malaysian Super League. They had two men sent off in the first half, leaving them with nine players for the second half, in which they defended like heroes to only go down by a solitary goal. Aidil Zafuan netted the winning goal with a terrific header and he came to haunt the Perakeans again three weeks later.

Perak were still missing most of their big guns, with skipper Shahrul Nizam Mustapha and midfielder S. Chanturu still out injured. But the match kicked off on a rather predictable note as big-spending Johor seized initiative with former Spanish international Dani Guiza playing upfront. However, it was Perak who had the first real chance of the game as Hadi Yahya laid a defence-splitting pass for ex-Anderson School player Norhakim Isa. Unfortunately, the youngster scuffed his attempt and a good chance went astray.

Knowing that set-pieces could be their best attempt to surprise the Johor goal, Rafael Novais had a customary long range free-kick from 35 yards. But his spectacular shot was stopped well by the Johor keeper. In fact, the Seladangs meticulously edged into the game and were the better side, as the match approached half time.

After the break, the Southern Tigers came out firing on all cylinders and they got an immediate response. Safiq Rahim stepped up to curl in a corner kick and Aidil Zafuan was placed perfectly to head home the winning goal which, ultimately, saw Perak out of the FA Cup. It was a disappointing end to what was a brilliant performance from the youthful Seladangs.

Credit has to be given to Azraai Khor Abdullah, who has instilled faith in his younger troops. The fact that Perak were missing so many key players through injury and yet managed to put a good fight against Johor Darul Takzim was commendable. Norhakim Isa was arguably the stand-out player of the night, as he rattled the opposition midfield, which had national team players like Safiq Rahim and Nurul Azwan Roya in the midst.

The quality of play shown by Perak’s youthful team signals an encouraging future for the side. In fact, Perak’s successful President Cup squad in 2012 was one of the major motivations in convincing Azraai to take charge of the Seladangs. The ex-Kedah coach is well known for his passion for working with young talents and the abundance of it in Perak augurs well for the team.

Nevertheless, with the FA Cup out of sight, this could very well be a blessing in disguise for the boys. The injured players are recovering and should be in the team very soon. Perak will have a full strength squad to continue the quest for the league’s title.


FA Foreign Signings Finalised

FA Foreign Signings Finalised
Karim Nouani

Perak FA has confirmed the signing of defender Rafael Novais and forward Karim Rouani as their two foreign players for the 2013 football season.

  The Seladangs have been on a revamping mode since their dismal Malaysia Cup outing earlier this year. But despite making early initiatives to rebuild the squad, they had to rush to secure the two foreign players, as the registration period ended on Thursday, December 6.

With rumours linking them to players such as Frederic Mendy and John Carew, Perak secured their first foreign signing by snapping up former Bangkok Glass defender, Rafael Novais. The tall defender had previously played for Palmeiras and Rio Branco in 2009 and 2010, before making the move to Asia with Thai side, Buriram PEA.

The suspense heightened with Perak fans hoping for the signing of former West Ham player, John Carew, to fill the one remaining foreign slot. But as the negotiations faltered at the very last minute, Perak rushed to complete the signing of Karim Nouani, who was rejected by PKNS FC prior to this.

FA Foreign Signings Finalised
Azraai Khor

The French forward was previously playing for Budapest Honved in the Hungarian league before joining BEC Tero Sasana in the Thai league. However, Karim’s time there was cut short after a dispute with some club officials. And though there are doubts about his true form, Azraai Khor is optimistic about the prospects of Karim playing for Perak FA next year. “Karim certainly has the qualities of an excellent forward. I believe he’ll bond with the other players in due time,” said Azraai to reporters.

As for the man himself, Karim is certainly looking forward to playing in the Malaysian Super League after having heard plenty of positive things about it. “I was only with BEC Tero Sasana for six months, but I am looking forward to playing in the Malaysian Super League now. I hope I can play a lot of games for Perak and make a big impact on the team.”

As far as the Perak FA is concerned, their bid to shine in the 2013 season begins in earnest now. Preparations have already begun with players grouping-in for pre-season training in Ipoh. Azraai Khor has a much bigger challenge ahead. After the massive squad revamp, it will be interesting to see how he is going to find the right concoction to inspire the team forward.


Perak Eyeing John Carew

Perak football team - Seladangs
John Carew

The preparation for next year’s league matches has begun in earnest for Perak FA. Coach Azraai Khor is keen to bolster his attacking options with Norwegian forward, John Carew. Reports have surfaced over the interest and Perak could very soon sign Carew, who is currently a free agent after the expiry of his contract with West Ham United some time ago.

One of Perak’s weakest links is in the offensive department. Akmal Rizal Rakhli was well below par while Lazar Popovic’s four-month stint was a huge disappointment. Despite the arrival of Albert Bodjongo in April, the Seladangs continued to struggle for goals, which ultimately caused them to languish at the bottom of their group in the Malaysia Cup.

However, Perak FA is determined to resolve this problem, as is evident with the signing of 2011 Malaysian Super League top scorer, Abdul Hadi Yahya. Nevertheless, Azraai is still keen to add more firepower upfront and Carew seems to be the likeable choice.

The 32 year-old forward is well known for his physical presence upfront, often holding up play brilliantly to bring his teammates into the attacking position. Carew is best known for his time with Aston Villa, where he flourished alongside the likes of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Perak’s major source of goals this year came in the form of Michal Kubala, whose set-piece skills were widely applauded. However, the association decided against renewing his contract for 2013. The hunt for new foreign players was announced and the Norwegian forward appears to be on top of their shopping list, as of now.
“We are currently in negotiations with Carew for the 2013 season. His presence will add depth to our squad,” said Manager Khairul Azwan recently. “I don’t wish to elaborate further. We’ll provide the details later.”
Besides playing for Aston Villa and West Ham United, the tall forward had donned the jerseys of Olympique Lyonnais in France and Turkey’s Besiktas. If the signing comes through, it will be a massive coup for Azraai Khor and Perak FA.

So far, they have already signed up Farizal Marlias, Abdul Hadi Yahya, S. Chanturu, V. Thirumurugan, Yong Kuong Yong and Khairi Kiman. Selangor midfielder, Azidan Shahrudin is close to sealing a deal with the Seladangs. Reports are rife linking Perak with Home United forward, Frederic Mendy, should the John Carew acquisition fail.


Seladangs Revamped


Perak FA have initiated a major squad revamp that sees almost up to 13 players being released, as the association seeks to rebuild the team for next year’s Malaysian football calendar. The Seladangs finished fourth in the Super League but were absolutely shambolic during the Malaysia Cup, as they were knocked out unceremoniously during the group stages itself.

Among the players released were former national forward Akhmal Rizal Rakhli, K. Nanthakumar and goalkeeper Nasril Nourdin. Others include Shafiq Jamal, Chan Wing Hong, Kamarul Efandi, Fazrul Hazli, Wan Hossein Wan Abdul Ghani, Khalis Ibrahim, Khairi Zainuddin, Badrul Azam and Fahrul Razi.

Perak FA chairman Dato’ Zainol Fadzi, announced this at a recent media briefing. He said that ten players have been retained, alongside skipper Shahrulnizam Mustapha.

This news comes as no surprise following Perak’s dismal run in the Malaysia Cup. Despite the arrival of Jang Jung, the Seladangs were outplayed by Felda United, Sime Darby and Negeri Sembilan in Group C and failed to qualify for the quarter finals.

After their opening match draw against Sime Darby, the Seladangs were given a bruising lesson by Felda United. The visitors beat them 4-2 on home soil. Still reeling from the unexpected defeat, Perak travelled to the Paroi Stadium to take on Negeri Sembilan. What followed was a drabby encounter that saw both sides cancelling out one another in a scoreless draw.

The tempo, however, was different in the reverse fixture at Ipoh, as Negeri emerged victors with a 1-0 scoreline. As for Perak, their precarious position in Group C was a cause for concern and they needed an immediate boost against Felda United in the return match. A late goal from Felda put paid to their dreams. The final clash against Sime Darby was more of a consolation match and the Seladangs finally got their maiden victory with a 2-1 win.

While Datuk Zainol alluded to the management’s keenness in preparing the team for next year by bringing in better players, no mention was made regarding the future of manager Khairul Azwan and head coach, Jang Jung. Both men have been severely criticised following the team’s terrible outing in the Malaysia Cup and are under pressure to leave their posts.

The Perak PAS Youth Deputy Leader, Dr Raja Ahmad Al-Hiss has already called for the scalp of Khairul Azwan, citing that the team’s failure should be his responsibility, as well. He also mentioned that while the management did make a change in terms of head coach, they did not evaluate their very own decisions and the consequences.

These developments will require a response from the Perak FA management and it has to be quick. The huge number of outgoing players means that there has to be an equal number of incoming players.

Plenty of promises were made last year but none were fulfilled. Things have to be different next year.


Delicate Draw for Seladangs


perak football teamPerak will be in for a rough ride in the upcoming Malaysia Cup. The Seladangs are in Group C along with Super League sides Negeri Sembilan, Felda United and FA Cup finalist, Sime Darby.

The obvious threat comes from Negeri Sembilan, who is the reigning Malaysia Cup champion. The Deers’ final position of sixth in the recently concluded Super League does not reflect their true credentials. Azraai Khor’s men are well-equipped in terms of experience and youth, with Super League top scorer Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona leading their line upfront.

Sime Darby too had an impressive season that saw them marching all the way into the FA Cup final, before losing to eventual champion Kelantan in the final last May. The Premier League side boasts one of the hottest foreign signing, Patrick Ronaldinho the team’s leading campaigner. Felda United too cannot be taken lightly. E. Elavarasan’s boys were only narrowly defeated twice in the Super League earlier this year, with the scoreline being 2-1 in favour of Perak on both occasions.

Though their group matches appear delicate enough, a bigger challenge awaits them in the knockout round. The two teams that qualify from Group C will face off against two qualifiers from Group B, which is the official “Group of Death” with the likes of Kelantan, Terengganu, ATM and Kedah in it.

There is no denying that Perak will be in for a tough Malaysia Cup campaign. Not many feel they will go far. However, midfield maestro, Michal Kubala is optimistic.

“The team has been training hard. We’ll show our true form in the Malaysia Cup. Every game will be a hard game as there are no easy games in football,” he told Ipoh Echo.

Nevertheless, the Seladangs have made a positive move to bolster their squad. They have snapped up three Sabah players in the form of skipper Reithaudin Awang, Zuraindey Jumai and Fariss Azlan. Reithaudin is already well-known for his experience in defence while Zuraindey and Fariss will add more oomph to the side.

Jang Jung is likely to introduce several talents from the successful Perak President Squad into the senior team. Players like Kenny Pallraj and Nurridzuan Abu Hassan are likely to make the cut.

With Perak set to open their Malaysia Cup campaign against Sime Darby on Wednesday, August 22, the final preparation kicks off now. Inconsistency was a niggling issue throughout the Super League season. Jang Jung is keen to sort things out before the big day. With the inclusion of the new players, the squad is definitely capable of going far. That is my honest to goodness view.