Tag Archives: Perak Football Team

Yo Yo-ing Into The Abyss


If anyone witnessed the manner in which Perak outclassed Johor 3-0 at Lumut recently, they would probably not believe that the same side lost 3-1 to Felda United just three days later. It is not only baffling but confusing as well.

Ultimately, it boils down to whether we have a capable squad or not. With the addition of Paulo Rangel in April, we have looked deadly upfront and there is no excuse for our midfield, with Perak spending a bomb to boost it with big names like Chanturu and Yong Kong Yuong during the off-season. These players have been struggling to maintain the high standards that are required  of them. Their consistency, I must admit, is suspect.

Yo Yo-ing Into The Abyss

In that game against Johor Darul Takzim, our midfield was deadly, playing with such fluidity and passing the ball around with tremendous confidence. We did excellently against big name players on the Johor side and that in itself was motivating enough. A 3-0 victory went on to become a dream result and Azraai Khor Abdullah was already hoping to see his men retain the confidence and finish the season strongly. Unfortunately, this did not happen. The yo-yo performance came again three days later when they were trounced by Felda United.

The worrying bit was not the result but rather the sudden shift in force and momentum that seemed to affect the team at that moment. Suddenly, we could not contain the opposition’s midfielders, struggled for creativity and totally deserved the defeat. Even coach Azraai was befuddled by the result.

“I can’t understand why this yo-yo performance is happening,” he said. “One game, we are so excellent and the next one goes down the drain.

“And all of this is happening right in front of my eyes. We’ve tried so many things but I don’t quite know the problem yet, whether or not it’s an attitude issue.”

And just as you would rightly expect, Perak bounced back from that defeat to Felda with a home victory over Negeri Sembilan just days later. Better still, the win came with Perak playing at the Perak Stadium for the first time this season since the floodlights were upgraded recently.

The Seladangs could have scored six or seven goals on the night had their forwards not made a mess of the many scoring opportunities.

Interestingly, the match also marked the debut of Perak youngster, G. Mugenthiran, who was given a run in the side following his impressive performances for the President Cup squad. Azraai Khor only had one fit striker for the game and decided to make use of the youth thus giving the 20-year-old player a chance to prove his worth at the senior level.

The season now descends into an interesting period where every point will be crucial. The Seladangs are not entirely safe from the relegation zone. Coach Azraai Khor and the players know this. If they continue with their yo-yo pace they are in danger of being dragged down into the abyss. The ball, as they say, is in their court.


Inconsistent Seladangs


Inconsistent SeladangsIf there is one aspect that frustrates every single football fan in the world, it is inconsistency. So much was said about this Perak side prior to the new season, about how they were solid defensively in the pre-season games, but struggled to impose themselves upfront. However, Azraai Khor was left clueless recently as his team succumbed to a 2-0 defeat to a struggling Terengganu team.

Now, this was a Terengganu side lacking not only confidence, but also cohesiveness. The monsoon floods pretty much disrupted their pre-season preparations back in December and the Turtles have struggled to assert themselves in matches this year. So it was normal for Perak fans to have high expectations heading into this match, as the Seladangs have been showing plenty of promising signs. The three-week break was deemed to have injected extra energy into the players and fans had expected them to steamroll past Terengganu, despite playing away from home.

But what happened in Kuala Terengganu on Friday, February 15 was something else. Perak proved a shadow of themselves as Terengganu dominated. The East Coast outfit had numerous chances throughout the game and netted two goals to gain their maiden win of the season in impressive fashion. It was, arguably, Perak’s worst performance of the season and it left Azraai Khor fuming on the sideline.

“I have no idea why we played so badly and allowed Terengganu to score two goals past us, considering that our defense looked solid this year,” he said.

The Seladangs regrouped and headed home to prepare for a clash against a high-flying Pahang side three days later. The Tok Gajahs were only recently promoted to the Super League, but they have been in imperious form this year. Facing up against them was always going to be a tough task, especially when you consider that Perak played so poorly in that defeat to Terengganu.

The day came, and both sides kicked off in Lumut. Perak was very cautious with their offensive approach early on in the game, not wanting to commit too many men forward and leave their defence empty. It was a edgy 90 minutes affair but Azraai Khor’s men were given a lifeline when Pahang skipper, Jalaluddin Jaafar scored an own goal just before half time. The Seladangs held on and secured a morale-boosting win, much to the delight of Azraai.

The victory over Pahang, however, depicted what appears to be an inconsistent Perak squad this year. They, undoubtedly, do have quality, but not maintaining the similar tenacity in every game appears to be a cause for concern. They will next face defending champions Kelantan in Kota Bharu on Saturday, March 2. It will be interesting to see how the Perak lads cope with the pressure of playing in front of a boisterous home crowd.


Perak Team 2013 Unveiled


Perak FA announced its squad for the 2013 Malaysian Super League season during a specially organised event at the Mydin Mall in Meru Raya recently. Team manager Khairul Azwan and head coach, Azraai Khor Abdullah were present along with almost 800 fans jam-packed in the mall. Foreign signings, Rafael Novais and Karim Rouani, were also there. The occasion provided an opportunity for diehard fans to get a glimpse of their idols. All players were present except for S. Chanturu, who was nursing a knee injury and Farizal Marlias, who was given an extended break after his national team duty in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012.

Perak Football Team - SeladangsHaving drafted several big names, the Seladangs is geared to make a strong impression in 2013, something that PAFA President, Dato’ Zainol Fadzi, felt was possible with a solid home support. The fans’ presence, said Zainol, would inspire the players.

The following day the squad of 22 players departed for a series of friendly matches in the Northern region of Malaysia. They trashed Perlis FA 4-0 at the Kangar Stadium. However, head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah wasn’t impressed.  “The players need time to gel, especially with the two foreign players, Rafael and Karim. It’s too early to judge anyone. So far, I am happy with what I see,” said Azraai to reporters.

There is bad news in store for Perak fans ahead of the start of the new Malaysian Super League season. Football Association of Malaysia requires stadiums to be fitted with 1000 lux floodlights for night play. The Ipoh stadium is fitted with 800 lux floodlights.

Perak FA has brokered a deal to upgrade the facility which will begin in January. This means the Seladangs are likely to play their night home matches at the Lumut Naval Base Stadium until March.

The full Perak squad for 2013 Malaysian Super League season:

Farizal Marlias (GK), Khairul Amri (GK), Mohd Jibrail (GK), V. Thirumurugan, Syazwan Roslan, Hisyamuddin, Rafael Novais, Shahrom Kalam, Khairi Kiman, Noor Hazrul, S. Chanturu, M. Sivakumar, Shahrulnizam Mustapha (C), Mohd Nasir, Rafiuddin Roddin, M. Yoganathan, Yong Kuong Yong, Mohd Failee, Azlan Ismail, Hadi Yahya, Karim Rouani.

The Seladangs’ initiation to this year’s Super League began with a last minute win over Kuala Terengganu’s T-Team at the Lumut Naval Base Stadium on Tuesday, January 8. It was a scrappy 90-minute affair with both teams playing a cautious game. A header by Rafael Novais was deflected by a T-Team player and the ball went straight into the opponent’s net.


Seladangs Share Spoils


Perak footballThe inability to convert clear-cut chances into goals was the apparent drawback of Jang Jung’s Perak, as they opened their Malaysia Cup campaign with an exciting 1-1 draw with FA Cup finalist, Sime Darby. Raingo’s goal gave the host the lead in the 64th minute but Fahrul Razi netted the equaliser for Perak in the 89th minute. Both teams ended the play with a point each.

The weight of expectations was definitely on Perak’s shoulders despite them being visitors for this opening game. Sime Darby’s reputation as a mere Premier League side barely justified them as favourites thus Perak went of the offensive right from the beginning.

Jang Jung’s men could have even taken the lead as early as the 5th minute. But Fazrul Hazli’s speculative shot was tipped away brilliantly by the Sime Darby goalkeeper. Five minutes later, Michal Kubala came within inches of drawing first blood but his well executed free-kick hit the bar instead.

The brand of football employed by Perak was definitely a sight to behold but their poor finishing was proving to be a menace. Nevertheless, Sime Darby had their fair share of chances as well and goalkeeper Kamarul Affendi had to be on his toes throughout the match.

Both sides fought hard on the pitch but it took until the 64th minute for one of them to break the deadlock. Sime Darby import, Raingo slammed in a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box to give his side the lead.

Jang Jung responded by bringing on experienced forward Akhmal Rizal Rakhli and President Cup sensation, Kenny Pallraj in a bid to induce a revival. The Seladangs fought hard and their efforts were rewarded when Fahrul Razi restored parity with a well-taken volley from outside the box.

The score remained tied until the end and both sides shared spoils. However, Perak will be disappointed to have not snatched a victory, for their domination was evident throughout the match. Their midfield in particular, showed tremendous grit and determination to contain the highly versatile Sime Darby attackers. Their poor finishing is a cause for concern. The problem needs to be addressed if they want to advance further in the tournament.

Regardless, the fans and management have definitely seen glimpses of this squad’s capabilities and due credit must be given to Jang Jung. His tactics and methods seem to be doing the trick. Hopefully, it will continue.


Seladangs in Review


Perak football, Perak FAOver half a season has gone by now, Perak FA has faced plenty of adversities and challenges in this campaign; it doesn’t seem to get easier at all. From inconsistency to complacency and misfiring forwards, the problems seem endless. Nevertheless, with all the international football action hogging the limelight, the Seladangs are in for a respite, for the moment at least.

With only eight wins out of their 18 league matches so far, Perak is currently ranked seventh in the league table. Perhaps it’s time we sit back and analyse what went wrong for the Seladangs.

No Hunger in Attack

This is one significant drawback of the home team. It has failed to produce enthusiasm when on the offensive, which translates into the fact that a mediocre midfielder, in the form of Michal Kubala, is currently leading their goal scoring charts with only 11 strikes. Lazar Popovic was a great disappointment during the first half of the season, failing to score a single goal. Experienced forward, Akhmal Rizal looked jaded as well. A lot of hope was placed on young forward Failee Ghazalee, especially after his impressive outing during Perak’s Malaysia Cup campaign last year. However, the former USM striker sustained a serious injury early on in the season and, in spite of recovery, has failed to regain his form.


Fans, however, seem to agree on one fact – Perak players are not on par with their counterparts in the Kelantan and Terengganu teams. Fans want Norizan Bakar’s men to be composed on the pitch and remain consistent in their build-up. Unfortunately, this is the key element that is missing in Perak this year. Its longest winning streak this season was during the early stages of the season, when the players were on a roll with four consecutive wins over Negeri Sembilan, Johor FC, Felda United and Sarawak. Since then, inconsistency has dogged the team all the way.


This is a worrying trend for Perak. There have simply been too many occasions this season when opposing teams are allowed to peg the team, despite dominating the matches on the whole. The Seladangs outplayed LionsXII at the Perak Stadium last February. After leading 1-0 scoreline for much of the way, complacency crept in and they ended up losing 2-1. Similarly, Norizan Bakar’s men were expected to steamroll past Sabah at home in April, after beating them a week before. The Sabahans fought hard and secured a 2-2 draw much to the dismay of diehard fans. Team manager, Khairul Azwan appeared to have had the last straw in their wasteful 2-2 draw with Terengganu in May.

With only seven games left in the season, there isn’t much Perak can do to save its downward spiral. With LionsXII, Terengganu and Kelantan leading the title charge, the only thing Perak can do right now is to salvage some pride. It’s time to have a good rest, recuperate and go for broke. A good ending to the Super League season would provide a timely boost for the Malaysia Cup campaign later this year.


Khairul Resigns


Khairul Azwan Haron resigned as Perak football team manager effective July 5 citing the poor showing of the state team in the Super League as his reason for doing so. “One must be responsible for the team’s failure,” he said in a statement released to the press. “I am happy that Perak is placed sixth in the current standing. However, it’s a little off the mark I’ve set for myself.”

Khairul handed over his managerial responsibilities to Assistant Manager, Ahmad Shahrul Azhar. “I believe Ahmad can bring the team to the level expected. He’s capable of preparing the team for the coming Malaysia Cup tournament,” he added.

Khairul is also the Perak Football Association’s honorary treasurer. “Although I am no longer involved in managing the team, I am still responsible for its finances. Therefore, I still have a role to play in the team’s development and the development of football in Perak,” he remarked.


Football Incorporated


The Perak Football Team

In a gesture reminiscent of the spirit of Malaysia Incorporated, i.e., the private and public sector working together for success, an ardent state football fan today provided a tour bus to the state government to ferry the Perak football team to their playing engagements.

Dato’ Zainol Padzi addressing the team & association members

The offer to use the bus is for a period of one year and comes with two drivers with maintenance provided. According to a director of the Lumut based Arwana Express Travel and Tours Sdn Bhd, Mohd Ithnain, the annual maintenance cost is RM200,000. The state will pay the salary of the drivers and fuel costs. He explained that other state football teams had their own buses and so should Perak.

The launch (l-r): Mohd Ithnain (Arwana Director) Dato’ Seri Zambry & Dato Zainol Padzy

Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Zambry Abdul Kadir together with Perak Football Association President Dato’ Zainol Padzy launched the bus in the grounds of the State Secretariat. According to Zaino, under this arrangement the team would be ferried by the State’s bus and if not available, a bus would be rented from a private operator. This new arrangement would be more convenient and would contribute to cost savings.

On his expectations of the state team for the year, Zainol elaborated that “this is a new team and a new management. I am hoping that they will make it to the top five ranking by the end of the year. I really cannot expect more than that”.

Zambry in his address thanked Ithnain for his kind gesture for the use of the bus.  Addressing the team,  Zambry advised them to adopt the spirit of hard work and high discipline which will be the formula for their success.


A Frustrating Wait


After 18 months of waiting, Perak FA finally paid its coaches and players and this was made possible only after intervention by FAM. Perak would be disallowed from participating in the Super League if the association failed to honour its commitments to players and coaches.

It has been a very frustrating period when we saw a whole new squad of players and staff being paid for the 2009 season whilst others were owed money. What was more frustrating was that Perak FA did have the money as it owns lands and properties which could be converted into cash.

I took my case to FIFA and sought legal options with evidence supported by documents. It was a sad situation as I had two and a half great seasons with the association serving three excellent Presidents (Regent, Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi and Dato’ Mahiyuddin). All were honourable gentlemen who supported the players fully including FAM General Secretary, Dato’ Azuddin, who helped us retrieve our wages.

Empty Promises

The situation changed when there was a change in the state government. What was most baffling were the promises made by Anuar Hashim, who later became Secretary of Perak FA that we would be paid in full. They were empty promises. I know some of the foreign players have also taken their case to FIFA and I am sure the new Players Association will be acting on the local players behalf. This could be a great test case for them. The players played unpaid for three months while reaching the quarter finals of the AFC Cup – the furthest a Malaysian team had ever gone.

Gone Shopping!

We were desperate to find the funds to travel to Lebanon and eventually the air fares were found. But a travelling party of six officials from the PR Government came along and spent most of the time shopping! They certainly didn’t contribute to the football whilst there. We only took 15 players and four staff to ensure that costs were at a minimum.

The then MB was preaching about values yet they were letting poor kampong boys go unpaid. I had to pay some of the young players myself. Dato’ Mahiyuddin and team captain, Ahmad Shahrul, were helping the others.

Inherited Debts

Under the presidency of Dato’ Seri  Zahid Hamidi and Dato’ Mahiyuddin, we were breaking even and were making a profit on the AFC Cup. The inherited debts from previous administrations were the primary cause of the problem. It certainly did not help when we had people siphoning off income at the gates.

Squad Destabilised

Another disappointing aspect was the appointment of a new coach to replace me whilst we were still playing. Karathu and Raja Azlan Shah, however, denied being appointed but secretly recruited new players while telling the regular players that they would be axed the following season. It had a destabilising effect on the squad. This extremely unprofessional behaviour ultimately backfired when almost all of the squad left. I was leaving regardless as I could not work with the new management. So, why be deceitful?

Perhaps it is time the Johor FC model be emulated as they seem to be the ideal professional model – steady development in a secure economic environment.