FFT's MSL Preview: Selangor
The dust on the coaching situation has settled and Selangor’s new mentor Zainal Abidin Hassan is feeling at home.
SELANGOR'S 2016 TRANSFERS
- Mauro Olivi (Len de Hunuco)
- Patrick Wleh (PKNS)
- Khairul Azhan Khalid (Pahang)
- Razman Roslan (Pahang)
- Hafiz Kamal (Pahang)
- R. Gopinathan (Pahang)
- Adam Nor Azlin (Harimau Muda)
- Zarif Irfan Hashimuddin (Air Asia)
- Guilherme de Paula
- Leandro Dos Santos
- A. Thamil Arasu
- Afiq Azmi
- Shazlan Alias
- Syamim Othman
- K. Gurusamy
- K. Thanaraj
- Hamsani Ahmad
- S. Subramanian
Australian Mehmet Durakovic delivered the Malaysia Cup in 2015 but it wasn’t enough to keep him at the club. Zainal was reportedly lined-up for the 2016 season after Selangor failed to win the 2015 Malaysia Super League (MSL).
Selangor finished third in the MSL, but moved into second after FIFA ordered Pahang to be deducted six league points for failing to abide by their direction in compensating former striker Mohamed Borji for early termination.
Selangor are all about winning trophies and Zainal, a legend for the club during his heyday, is very familiar with the demands at Shah Alam Stadium.
The Red Giants have shown an intent to mount a serious challenge for consistent honours by investing heavily in the team. FourFourTwo understands that Selangor’s budget has increased to RM20million in 2016 from the RM8million reported last year.
Five seasons since they last won the MSL, Selangor have never been in a better position to break Johor Darul Ta’zim’s (JDT) stronghold in the league and Zainal, who failed at two previous attempts while at Pahang, now has another crack at dislodging JDT.
Selangor received some flak for hiring Zainal as he did not have a season to remember with Pahang, but that could be a thing of the past if Selangor hit the ground running when the season starts on February 13.
Zainal brought four of his war horses from the East Coast – Khairul Azhan Khalid, Razman Roslan, Hafiz Kamal and R. Gopinathan – and the squad is boosted by the signings of proven goal getter Patrick Wleh and Argentine Mauro Olivi to replace Brazilian duo Guilherme de Paula and Leandro Dos Santos.
Apart from the two Brazilians, the only other regular player Selangor have lost in the transfer window is Afiq Azmi, but he was expected to struggle for a starting place had he stayed despite scoring eight goals in the MSL last season.
Selangor also have a solid back four led by Australian Robert Cornthwaite, who was initially shown the door but called back after a backlash from the fans.
FFT'S MSL PREDICTION: 2nd
They need their new pieces to gel, but with their talent they should push JDT all the way.
KEEP CLICKING BELOW FOR A COMREHENSIVE SELANGOR PREVIEW
COACH CORNER – Zainal Abidin Hassan
His return to the club was engulfed in controversy. But all will be forgotten if the club starts winning games, as expected.
STAR MAN – Ahmad Hazwan Bakri
He was their hero in the Malaysia Cup triumph last year. But just a few short months later, Hazwan is fighting for his place in the side.
VIEW FROM THE FANS
It's hard to escape the coaching dramas, but the fans at least seem appeased by the new level of talent at the club.
How confident are they of success this year? Find out here.
THE YOUNG GUN – Adam Nor Azlin
His time with Harimau Muda has led to him moving up the pecking order at the Red Giants.
Find out about this exciting, versatile prospect by clicking here.