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Zainal seeks to have new players gel quickly for Melaka

08:54 GMT+3 22/01/2019
Liridon Krasniqi, Kedah, Gary Steven Robbat, Johor Darul Ta'zim
With a whole host of new players for the 2019 season, Zainal Abidin Hassan faces a tough task to get all his players to find a quick understanding.

Melaka United are signalling their big intentions for the new season having signed numerous big names as they completely revamped the team that only finished mid table in seventh place in the 2018 Malaysia Super League season. At the helm of it all is also new head coach Zainal Abidin Hassan who moved from Pulau Pinang down south to Melaka.

Liridon Krasniqi, Jang Sukwon, Darko Markovic and Anselmo Arruda da Silva (Casagrande) were announced today as their import players for the 2019 season to add to those already signed like Safiq Rahim, Razman Roslan, Shukor Adan and Raimi Nor much earlier.

Zainal took the team to a Vietnam playing tour earlier in the month where they faced Becamex Binh Duong FC, Sai Gon FC and Ho Chi Minh City FC. They achieved a variety of results over there but it is the building of the understanding between the players that was most important to the head coach.

"We had a very good pre-season in Vietnam because we faced good teams there. We drew the first, lost the second and won the third. The level of those friendly games was very high and from there we can see what is good and what is bad, for us to come back and improve the team."

"This is the most important. When we have 80-90% new players, the task to make them gel together is the most vital. That is why I'm having more friendly matches to assimilate quicker. So far it's been going well but we still need to improve a lot before the first game," Zainal told Goal.

In the FA Cup last year, Melaka only reached the third round while in the Malaysia Cup, they could not get out of the group stage after finishing behind PKNS FCand Felda United in Group B. Having secured big name players who still have a lot to offer despite their age, Zainal will be tasked to take Melaka to greater heights in the coming season.

However the former Malaysia national team captain while admitting that Melaka will be seeking to get their hands on at least one trophy, is also aware of the fact that the competition has improved significantly for the 2019 season, making their targets even harder to achieve.

"All coaches dream to do their best and that is to win trophies. Not only me but this season there are a lot of teams who have improved and it will be a tough season for everyone," added Zainal.


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