Saturday, 29 March 2014 | MYT 10:11 PM
Ali copping for the Police
Ali Ashfaq (right) has been a big hit for Police. - filepix
PETALING JAYA: Maldives is better known as a holiday destination than a place which produces football super strikers.
But it is from this tiny island that Police have found a gem of a striker in Ali Ashfaq. And it is Ali’s goals that have propelled Police to the top of the Premier League.
The 28-year-old Ali has scored 10 goals, including all three in their 3-1 win over Kedah at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar on Friday.
His goals came in the 18th, 44th and 72nd minutes before the Red Eagles reduced the deficit through Baddrol Bakhtiar in the 79th minute.
It was Ali’s second hat-trick in the league. His first came when they recorded their biggest win against Perlis (7-1) on Feb 14.
“There is no doubt that Ali has been an inspiration to the team with his prowess in front of goal. We want to maintain this momentum,” said coach Dollah Salleh, who is satisfied with the commitment shown by his players following their last two drawn games against Felda United (3-3) and Negri Sembilan (2-2).
Police started their campaign strongly with six straight wins before inexplicably losing momentum and drawing against Felda United and Negri. This allowed Penang to claim the top spot.
“I am glad the wake-up call (the two draws) has put us back at the top again. The team management was concerned after the two draws. I hope they show the same spirited performance in the remaining fixtures. In fact, all the foreign signings are playing up to expectations,” said Dollah.
The other foreigners in the squad are striker Charles Chad and towering defender Rafael Souza Novais of Brazil and midfielder Mohamadou Sumareh of Zambia.
The notable local signings have been former Sarawak hotshot Bobby Gonzales, former national centreback Mohd Muslim Ahmad and former national goalkeeper Helmi Eliza Elias.
Police lead the 12-team standings with 23 points, the same as Penang. But the cops, who have a game in hand, lead on goal difference.