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Durakovic sees Shahrel as viable attacking option for Perak

14:56 GMT 20/01/2019
Shahrel Fikri, Malaysia, 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup
After his loan stint in 2018 to Nakhon, Shahrel Fikri will once again be spending the season away from PKNP but this time, much closer to home.

2018 proved to be a fruitful year for Shahrel, nine goals for PKNP in the first half of the Malaysia Super League season and the FA Cup run saw him earning a valuable move abroad to Thailand. Nakhon Ratchasima FC was the team calling for his services as they took him on for a six months loan.

Opportunities did not come easy for the 24-year-old Shahrel in the Thai League 1 and with only one goal to show from his time there, it would be very difficult to classify his stint being one of rip-roaring success. But his hard work is taking up the opportunity did saw him break his way into Tan Cheng Hoe's Malaysia squad that reached the final of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.

In the 2019 season, he is on the move again but to a relatively shorter distance. Perak had chased after Shahrel since the start of the 2018 season and a year later, have finally got their man, albeit via a loan agreement. Shahrel is still contract to PKNP until the end of 2020 but he has an admirer in his new head coach, Mehmet Durakovic.

"It's very important and he is very important. We need good local strikers and he's one of them. He's very young and has got a lot to learn. He's a good character, a wonderful kid and a fantastic professional."

"Like the others we've signed, Zac Anderson and Parthiban, I'm very happy to have him and them on board" Durakovic told Goal.

Last season was an amazing year for Perak as they finished second in the Super League and went on to lift the Malaysia Cup. Much talk about Durakovic leaving the team to join Selangor and taking a large chunk of the squad with him ensued following the success but the move never materialised.

Instead, Perak managed to keep much of the team together and vitally were able to retain the likes of Shahrul Saad, Hafizul Hakim, Nazirul Naim, Brendan Gan, Nasir Basharuddin and Ahmad Khairil Anuar in the team. Interestingly as well, this season will be the first time that The Bos Gaurus have retained a majority of their imports for a long while.

And in those imports will be the main challenge for Shahrel to feature in the first team. Gilmar Filho was relied upon heavily in the 2018 season but he will now have a reliable back-up who is a proven goalscorer in the domestic competitions. 

Not only that, should Shahrel be able to keep himself fit and ready, the Manjung-born player will have a chance to taste his first AFC Champions League football when Perak welcome Hong Kong's Kitchee FC in the play-off round.


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