Tag Archives: perak football

Empowering Youths


Perak FA head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah has officially revealed that he will be utilising some of the President Cup players for the upcoming Malaysia Cup campaign.

The Seladangs are currently preparing for the tournament and Azraai has called up six names from the highly talented Perak President Cup squad, including the likes of Mugenthirran, Nurhakim Isa and Syamil.

Empowering Youths

Speaking to Ipoh Echo, Azraai said, “I have always liked the idea of developing youth players and that is exactly what I’ll do for the Malaysia Cup. Six players have been brought in from the President Cup squad and I’m hoping they’ll make a big impression.”

“Mugen and Syamil in particular, netted 14 goals each in the President Cup, and that’s a terrific start for players of their age. So, hopefully, these guys will be able to make us proud by doing well.”

Preparation for the Malaysia Cup has been going well, despite them only being able to train at night due to the fasting month of Ramadan. However, a mini crisis erupted recently when Thai side Muangthong United expressed their desire in prematurely ending Paulo Rangel’s loan stint in Ipoh.

“We’ve been training from 10pm to 12am every day due to the fasting month but everything seems to be going well.”

“Yes, Muangthong wants Paulo back but the man wants to stay, so that’s a good thing. We’ve expressed our desire to keep him so I think he’ll remain here.”

The Malaysia Cup should be an interesting battle ground for Perak, as they seek to regain some pride from what has been a frustrating year. Azraai’s decision to empower the Perak youth players is commendable. Let us hope it will reap dividends.


Can We Salvage Some Pride?


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.

Can We Salvage Some Pride pic 1

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.w 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.


Rangel to the Fore


Perak FA has secured a new signing in the form of Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel, who will replace Karim Rouani as their second foreign player. The ex-Muang Thong United forward comes with a pretty decent reputation, having been a fan-favourite with the Thai League side. He plans to overcome Perak’s goal-scoring problems.

Brazilian striker Paulo RangelThe Seladangs have been struggling to find consistency in the league thus far. And a huge factor behind this has definitely been their inability to score many goals. They are currently ninth in the league table and have only netted nine goals thus far, which is not a good number at all.

Abdul Hadi Yahya came in with a huge reputation, having previously won the 2011 Super League Golden Boots, but even he seems to be lacking the finesse upfront. Another man that was supposed to be pulling the strings is Karim Rouani. However, it is safe to say that he has been nothing short of a disappointment. Then we have Failee. But this lad is more of a second striker, who basically creates chances for others, not a born finisher.

Thus, the Perak FA management has taken a radical step by bringing in Paulo Rangel, with Coach Azraai Khor expressing his confidence that the Brazilian could help revive Perak’s falling fortunes.

“Rangel is an out and out striker, who could give us the much needed push upfront in the second round,” he said. “He looks very impressive. Rangel is probably the best among the many foreign players who have come our way.”

The fact that Rangel is a traditional centre forward will certainly delight Perak fans, considering that the Seladangs have been lacking someone like this for quite awhile now. The 28 year-old Brazilian has scored a few goals in several friendly clashes recently. Everyone is hoping that he will be an influential man for the rest of the season.

After the 2-1 defeat to LionsXII, it is now crucial for the home team to buck up in its upcoming matches against PKNS and T-Team. Azraai Khor’s men are heading into a delicate part of the season, which could well determine their fate in the league.


A Decent Start


Perak FA kicked off their Malaysian Super League campaign on a rather decent note, gaining two wins, a draw and two losses from their first five outings.

Perak Fottball Team - SeladangsThe Seladangs got off to a morale-boosting start, as they completed a late 1-0 victory over Peter Butler’s T-Team FC in Lumut. After that, Azraai Khor brought his troops to face moneybags Johor Darul Takzim in Larkin.

The game was dominated by the home side and the Seladangs got two men sent off just before half time for bad tackles. However, Perak fought hard to stay in the game, and while they did ultimately lose 0-1 to Johor, the grit and determination shown were inspiring enough for the fans.

Next, they faced Felda United at home. Although the Seladangs were solid in defense their attacking department was a big let-down. The absence of key players like S. Chanturu and Karim Rouani was affecting them as they struggled to finish off key chances in the final third of the field.

Similarly, the game against Felda was pretty even but the Settlers were much more clinical upfront and they ended up snatching a 1-0 victory against the Seladangs.

Notwithstanding that Azraai Khor still has faith in his side’s capabilities, as he took them to Seremban to take on Negeri Sembilan at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Stadium on Saturday, January 19. This was a special occasion for Azraai as he had coached Negeri for two years and only parted company with them last year. However, it was business as usual and the boys delivered.

Failee Ghazali struck in the 94th minute to give Perak a dramatic last-gasp win over the Deers, taking them to six points from their first four games. On the back of that morale-boosting win, Perak returned home to face traditional rivals Selangor FA just three days later.

The Red Giants were brimming with confidence after beating league leaders Pahang just days before and were looking to take down the Seladangs as well. But contrary to expectation, it was Perak who dominated proceedings early on, as they constantly pressured Selangor with a wide array of passing arsenal.

Selangor did take the lead through Francis Forkey Doe in the second half though, but Perak rallied back to restore parity through Abdul Hadi Yahya’s penalty. The game finished 1-1. Had it not been for several refereeing mishaps, the result could have been different.

So after five pulsating matches in the Malaysian Super League, the Seladangs have collected seven points and are currently 6th in the league table. Not a bad start to the season, but there were several weaknesses that need to be rectified.

Defensively, the Seladangs seem to be rock solid, especially with Brazilian defender Rafael Novais marshalling it. He has, arguably, been our best player thus far and deserves all the plaudits coming his way. However, we have been shambolic offensively. Karim Rouani is still nursing an injury while Abdul Hadi Yahya struggled to regain his scoring touch. Failee seems to be inconsistent as well.

The Super League will now go on a three-week break, to give space for the national team matches to take place. Azraai Khor needs to use this break wisely, allowing his players to rest and recuperate and to be prepared for tougher matches ahead when the league resumes next month.


Perak football

Dawn of a New Horizon

Perak football
Abdul Hadi Yahya

Perak football
Azraai Khor Abdullah

Perak have sent an early warning to other teams by moving to secure several well-known personnel who will form the nucleus of the coaching staff and the first team next year. Former Negeri Sembilan and Kedah coach, Azraai Khor Abdullah has been appointed head coach for 2013, while the services of six players, namely Negeri Sembilan goalkeeper, Farizal Marlias; Felda United flanker, Yong Kuong Yong; Kedah defender, V. Thirumurugan and Terengganu forward, Abdul Hadi Yahya are being acquired.

Having released 13 players from this year’s squad, including the likes of Nasril Nourdin and Akmal Rizal, Perak FA is under pressure to draft in big-name replacements. Most fans cited the club’s dismal performance in the Malaysia Cup as a major cause for concern and that a massive revamp was required. As a result, the Association acted quickly by replacing Jang Jung with Azraai Khor while signing the six names who are consistently in the national team frame.

Azraai Khor Abdullah is already well known throughout the nation for his tactically astute approach, with his stint with Kedah as head coach being the most prolific of his career so far. Azraai won the “double treble” with the Canaries, lifting the Malaysian Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup successively in 2007 and 2008. He was then given the responsibility of handling the Malaysia U-23 team, but after a less glamorous stint with them, Azraai returned to club football with Negeri Sembilan in 2011. Throughout his two years with the Southern Malaysian team, he led them to Malaysia Cup glory in 2011, before winning the Charity Shield earlier this year.

In terms of players, the most heralded is none other than Farizal Marlias, who is widely recognised as the second best goalkeeper in Malaysia, behind Khairul Fahmi Che Mat. Nasril Nourdin’s erratic form in between the goalposts was a factor behind Perak’s tendency to concede soft goals this year.

Abdul Hadi Yahya is another name that will raise the spirits of the Seladang faithful. The 27 year-old forward is well known for his goal-scoring attributes, which saw him winning the Super League top scorer award in 2011. V. Thirumurugan and Yong Kuong Yong are also two other well-established names in the Malaysian soccer scene.

S. Chanturu and Khairil Kiman are two other names that will excite the Perak fans. Chanturu’s exploits in midfield for Kelantan was evident throughout this year while Khairil will reinforce the team’s defence.

However, Perak have to decide against renewing the contracts of Michal Kubala and Albert Bodjongo for next year, despite the former finishing 2012 as Perak’s top scorer. Team Manager Khairul Azwan confirmed the decision on his Twitter recently. The hunt for new foreign players will begin shortly.

The new arrivals signal Perak FA’s ambition for 2013. This year proves that the standard of Malaysian football has increased tremendously. The competitiveness of the league will rise further next year. Perak looks daunting on paper, but the onus is on the players to prove their worth on the pitch.