Police mobilised to raid the Super League

Police striker Dramane Traore (centre) celebrates after scoring against Sabah in their FA Cup match at Shah Alam Stadium.

IF there was a law about people who make wrong sports predictions being arrested, the prison would be my second home!

Sometimes I get it right. Most of the time, however, I get it terribly wrong!

At the start of the current Malaysian Super League season, I predicted that Police would struggle. Their recent form, however, suggests something else. It would seem The Gaffer has made a gaffe!

Police lost their first match against Lions XII 5-3 at the Jalan Besar Stadium but after that, they’ve beaten Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) 1-0 and trashed Kelantan 4-0.

As if that was not enough, they also Sabah 3-0 in the FA Cup second round match.

Any Tom, Dick and Harry (me, included) can make guesses but when it comes to sports, one has to look at things like squad depth, pre-season form and the technical team behind the scenes.

In my Feb 7 column, I called Police relegation favourites and this was my take:

Police won the Premier League last season but I’m expecting them to be in a relegation dogfight this season. Letting players like Charles Gonzales, Azizon Abdul Kadir and Munir Amran leave was a mistake as they were key performers last season. I believe the decision to rely only on Maldivian forward Ali Ashfaq will surely backfire, and Azman Adnan will need to call on other players to ensure survival.

The team’s recent form, however, suggests the opposite is true.

Perhaps what has made the difference is the devastating form of Police’s three import players – Dramane Traore, Mahamadou Sumareh and Ali Ashfaq.

Traore has scored six goals in four matches in all competitions, while Ashfaq and Sumareh have scored two goals apiece in the league.

Traore, a former Malian international is a menacing presence up front while his Maldivian partner Ashfaq causes problems for defenders with his trickery and pace. Gambian Sumareh, meanwhile, is a box-to-box midfielder and who has impressed with his vision, pace, distribution and work-rate.

Furthermore, the defence that shipped five goals in the first league game, now looks rock solid. The backline marshalled by Malaysian internationals Mohd Afif Amiruddin and Muslim Ahmad has recorded three clean sheets in the last three games!

Azman Adnan has certainly moulded a formidable outfit and based on Police’s form, they’re look sure to give the other teams a run for their money.

Once labelled as the first million-ringgit player, Azman is now one of the top young coaches in the country and many have tipped him to be in the running to take over the national U-23 side before too long.

Azman took up coaching because of national coach Dollah Salleh, and the former is beginning to prove himself at the very top.

He has seasoned players, young ones who want to prove a point and impressive foreign players. And his tactics have been spot on so far.

If the team maintain their consistency, they have the potential to achieve great things.

You may think I am going to make another bold prediction after labelling Poilce relegation candidates just weeks ago, but I am not about to commit to anything just yet. What I will say is that that a relegation fight no longer looks like being on the agenda.

> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own. 
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