PETALING JAYA: The M-League team bosses have been on a signing frenzy in the transfer window for the 2020 M-League season – except for Pahang coach Dollah Salleh. He has no intention of rushing his preparations.
The Elephants have only retained French defender Herold Goulon after axing four imports – Indonesian winger Saddil Ramdani, Singaporean midfielder Safuwan Baharudin, Nigerian striker Dickson Nwakaeme, and Namibian striker Lazarus Kaimbi.
They have also released Zubir Azmi, Afif Amiruddin, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, R. Kogileswaran, A. Salomon Raj, goalkeepers Remezey Che Ros and Wafieyuddin Shamsudin.
Dollah said the core of the team was still intact despite the exodus and he is not too perturbed over the task of rebuilding the squad.
“We have released a number of players but they are players in positions which we felt needed improvement... I think it’s only tougher to get replacements for players like Safuwan and Kaimbi but for other positions we have options, ” said the former national team coach.
“We still have players like Matthew (Davies), Mohamadou Sumareh and Nor Azam Azih who are internationals... we have several youngsters who impressed last season. It’s always tough to rebuild a team but we have to start the process now so we can be better in the future.”
“Besides, the season only starts on Feb 28 so we have two months to prepare. I don’t want to sign players hastily and regret later especially import players. We will then have to spend more money to change in the second transfer window.”
The Elephants started the 2019 Super League season as contenders for the Super League title but ended their campaign empty-handed.
They finished second in the 12-team Super League and only made it to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Malaysia Cup to cap off a disappointing campaign.
Pahang’s rebuilding saw them signing goalkeepers Mohd Sharbinee Allawee Ramli and Daniel Wafiuddin and also their former winger R. Gopinathan who is a free agent after being released by Premier League outfit Police.
“As I said, we are signing players who can improve the squad... there’s still a long way to go before the season starts, ” said Dollah.
“At the moment we have promoted three of our President’s Cup players, two goalkeepers and also Gopi. More announcements will be made soon.”