Goal Malaysia takes an exclusive look at the big teams that will be competing for the upcoming season's Malaysian Super League title
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Head Coach: Mehmet Durakovic
Goalkeepers: Farizal Marlias, Hamsani Ahmad, Syamim Othman
Defenders: Azmi Muslim, Rizal Fahmi, Rajesh Perumal, Stilianos Pantelidis, Bunyamin Umar, Shahrom Kalam, Shazlan Alias
Midfielders: Junior Apareciado, Fitri Syazwan, Andik Vermansyah, S. Veenod, S. Kunalan, K. Gurusamy, Shukur Jusoh
Forwards: Paulo Rangel, Afiq Azmi, Hadi Yahya, Hazwan Bakri, Thamil Arasu
Defensively, Selangor look solid at the back against ATM, with the defenders keeping the ball well outside the penalty box, and Farizal Marlias rarely called to action. And this is good, as their second place in last season's MSL was only possible due to their relatively low count of goals conceded
Another key strength to note is the 25 year old former Sao Paolo midfielder, Junior Aparecido. He lacks the size that is usually associated with foreign players in Malaysian football, but he is nimble and able to slip past the defenders. He is also still relatively young, which means that he can still develop himself at Shah Alam.
His size, style of play and youth reminds me of another South American who has already made his name here, Pahang's Matias Conti. If he manages to emulate Conti's achievement, he will go even further. as Selangor will also be playing at the continental stage; the AFC Cup this season.
Selangor lost their main goal scorers in the last season; Amri Yahyah to JDT and Forkey Doe to Kelantan. Although they were replaced with Terengganu's Abdul Hadi Yahya, and Harimau Muda graduates Thamil Arasu and Hazwan Bakri, who are expected to play second fiddle to Junior and Rangel; the three have not really been scoring freely for their previous teams.
The only striker retained from last season; Afiq Azmi meanwhile rarely featured for the Red Giants. Even if their two Brazilian imports perform splendidly, they must remember that they are going to play in three concurrent competitions that are going to take their toll on the overall squad fitness. Casualties will happen and someone will have to step up to continue finding goals.
The Red Giants were also having trouble to control possession of the ball during their friendly against ATM, and Rangel had to drop deep to even get a whiff of the ball. The midfielders did not look too convincing and had trouble moving the ball up. But at the end of the day, they plugged the defence, kept Marlon James out of the danger area, scored one more goal than their opponents did, and won the match. Maybe Durakovic's trying something new.
Selangor are going to be a hard team to predict this season, as a number of their key players have left at the end of 2013. But that does not mean that they will be a flop, as actually it is their less famous players that have been carrying them these past few seasons, such as midfielder K. Gurusamy and Fitri Syazwan.
On top of that, they have also acquired the service of several new players such as Paulo Rangel and Indonesian star Andik Vermansyah, on top of the signing of former star Mehmet Durakovic as new head coach.
During the pre-season, they played a series of very low-key friendly matches in Australia, and one match against ATM, all of which they won.