Perak brace for rough start to the Super League season

IPOH: Perak will be starting their Super League campaign with a disadvantage.

This is because the Seladang have been ordered to play three home matches behind closed doors, beginning with the opening game against Pahang at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday.

In November, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) imposed the three-game ban following crowd violence in Ipoh during the Super League match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) on Aug 6. Perak were also fined RM47,500.

“We have appealed against the ban as we want our fans to watch the opening game. But there’s still no decision,” said Perak Football Association (PAFA) president Datuk Seri Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan yesterday.

Meanwhile, Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said the state would continue its commitment to support the team.

“We don’t want to get into financial trouble like the other teams. I urge the fans to behave themselves and not get us into trouble. It pains us having to pay hundreds and thousands in fine,” said Dr Zambry.

On Perak’s challenge this season, team manager Datuk Jamal Mohd Aris believes they can do better than the sixth-place league finish last year and challenge for honours in the FA Cup and Malaysia Cup.

“We have good depth in our squad with at least two players for each position. We also have a good mix of experienced senior and junior players. We are targeting to win at least one trophy,” said Jamal.

Among the new faces in the squad are Mohd Zaquan Adha, Nazrin Nawi, Jasazrin Jamaludin, Mohd Hafiz Kamal, Muhd Shahrom Kalam and Khairul Amri Salehuddin.

To be coached again by 81-year-old German Karl Weigang, Perak have retained Brazilian Thiago Junior Aquino for the fourth season.

They have also signed three new foreigners – former Eintracht Frankfurt youth player Faton Toski of Albania, Bulgarian Vladislav Mirchev and Chilean Yashir Pinto.