Coach Profile: Syamsul Saad, Perak

As one of Malaysia's youngest coaches it is fitting that Syamsul Saad is in charge of one of the Malaysia Super League's youngest teams. And you won't hear him making any excuses about his youthful squad...

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Taking the job at the end of last season, the former defender has been working hard trying to prepare Perak for the year ahead and trying to mould his charges into a team capable of challenging the big boys.

Now we have good young players who are persistent in their desire for good results

“Most of my players are very young,” Syamsul told FourFourTwo. “We have about 17 players under 22. Even though they are young, I am still confident that they are ready. Most of them have been playing in the past one or two years.”

Against the likes of champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, Selangor and Pahang, it remains to be seen if that is enough for one of the league's smaller clubs.

“ I believe we can achieve  at least the top five. I have high hopes that we can do something," the 40-year-old said.

“The fans are worried about the team as we have a very young squad but I believe that we have signed four foreign players who can combine well.”

Unusually for the team, there are two signings from Uzbekistan in Oybek Kilichev and Vokhid Shodiev.

“If you see good players, it is very selective. We have four players, two from Uzbekistan and maybe they are not the best players but they are the best for my team,” the coach said. “They suit our playing style well.

“I believe that we have a balanced team. The young players like to run with the ball and I have four foreigners who can give balance. They can hold the ball well. As I said they may not be the best individually, (but) in my team they can complete the team.

“I have the team that I want and we have been preparing well for the season ahead.” Syamsul is happy for the team to be labelled as underdogs for the coming season. He is quietly confident that it can be a good year for the Ipoh-based club.

“Actually as a coach, I would not have accepted the job if I am not confident that we can go very far. I have a lot of confidence in my team. I choose to let them be the underdog. I don't want them to be under pressure but I believe we can do very well.”

He hopes that the positivity rubs off on the supporters.

“I hope the fans don't come to the stadium with a negative mind. I know we have a young squad. In Malaysian football, we can't run from politics.

“Most management are politicians. For a while, there were many Malaysian players bought from other states and we gave a big salary to these players.

“But for the last three or four years, we didn't get anything and now we have good young players who are persistent in their desire for good results.

“I hope the fans can support us.”

Photo courtesy of Twitter