MSL Preview: Five things to look out for in Gameweek 1
Rangel set for reunion against Selangor
Of course Paulo Rangel will face Selangor so soon after leaving his former club for Terengganu in the close season. After scoring 16 league goals and playing a key role to help the Red Giants finish second in the league, it will be intriguing to see what kind of reception the Brazilian forward will get from the away fans, especially if he scores. Gulp.
Watch Terengganu vs Selangor on TV1 at 8:45pm on February 7th.
Newcomers Felda to show they are no pushovers
Sime Darby demonstrated last season that it is not impossible a newly-promoted side to beat the more established teams of the Malaysian Super League. Felda United will be hoping to emulate them this year as they begin the season with a home match against Sarawak. The 2014 Malaysian FA Cup runners-up certainly have the attacking firepower to terrorise Sarawak’s backline – in fact, any team’s backline (just ask the Selangor fans) – if the trio of Edward Junior Wilson, Ndumba Makeche and Zah Rahan Krangar are fit to start. On top of that, the Crocs' first-choice goalkeeper, Fadzley Rahim, has been sidelined due to an injury, making the task potentially easier for them.
“My kids are better than yours”
Local football scouts will definitely not want to miss the Perak vs Sime Darby match. Just like last season, both teams will look at their young players to fill up the vacant spots and even some of them to play key roles. This fixture will be a contest between two teams who aren’t afraid to throw their youngsters into first-team action, especially in the case of the Bos Gaurus, who will begin their league campaign without the injured Bobby Gonzales and Marco Tulio, but have plenty other options to choose from the likes of Norhakim Isa, Nurridzuan Abu Hassan, Khairil Anuar and Sukri Hamid – all of them are still 24 years old and below.
Kelantan’s new foreign recruits to face former stars
George Boateng will be hoping that his new foreign acquisitions of Erwin Carrillo, Isaac Pupo, Emmanuel Kenmogne and Jonathan McKain can provide the qualities they were severely lacking last season. They did not do too badly in pre-season matches, with Carrillo scoring four goals in six matches and Pupo pulling the strings in midfield. But the real test will start in Gameweek 1 as they visit ATM, a team consisting of familiar faces to them –former stars Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Hairuddin Omar and Obinna Nwaneri as well as former head coach B. Sathianathan. With the new faces clashing head-on with the old ones in their respective positions, we will be able to see how far the Red Warriors have come.
Watch ATM vs Kelantan on TV3 at 8:45pm on February 7th.
Can the LionsXII perform without Safuwan?
Despite failing to mount a successful title defence last year, the LionsXII could name Safuwan Baharudin as one of their few silver linings. However, the Singapore international will not be available for selection this season after securing a three-month loan spell at Melbourne City in the A-League, hence all eyes will be on Afiq Yunos and Madhu Mohana to step up to the plate. The centre-backs’ first test will be a home match against newly-promoted PDRM, who boasted an impressive goal-scoring record in the Premier League last season with Ali Ashfaq contributing 17 league goals. With that in mind, Afiq and Mohana will have to keep their eyes glued on the Maldivian magician this week.
(Picture: Ahmad Ridhuan/www.asiana.my)