A rough ride for the Turkmen journeymen


  • Football
  • Sunday, 07 Jun 2020

Police's Serdar Geldiyev in action against Johor Darul Ta'zim in the Super League. - Picture courtesy of PDRM FA

PETALING JAYA: For the last 10 years, Serdar Geldiyev’s international teammate in Turkmenistan, Mekan Nasyrov, has asked him to play in Indonesia.

The 32-year-old centreback had played for various clubs in his country while Nasyrov was playing for teams likes Barito Putra and Semen Padang in Indonesia.

After a long wait, Geldiyev finally succumbed to the temptation and travelled to Indonesia earlier this year, but he could not get into any club there.

He and another international teammate Shohrat Soyunov were introduced to an agent in Malaysia, and they impressed Super League side Police.

Both Geldiyev and Soyunov were signed by the newly-promoted club, but they knew they were in for a rough ride.

Police, with only 40% of the team being professionals and the rest policemen, are currently in the last position in the 12-team Super League with minus-two points.

They drew once but lost three before all football games were called off on March 16 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

For not paying the salary arrears as instructed by the FA of Malaysia (FAM), Police were docked three points and hence have a -2 tally.

“It is hard to start a championship with minus three points. We have been inconsistent in all our games. In our home matches, we showed great fight but lacked luck. As for the away matches, we lacked teamwork, ” said the player, who has 24 caps for Turkmenistan.

“Shohrat and I are giving our best because as imports, the demand on us is higher. We are not discouraged though. We are a little team with a big dream.

With only seven games left to play if the league resumes in September, Geldiyev said it will be tough. For him, he is only going to rely on the tactical nous of coach Mohd Ishak Kunju.

“Our coach is very disciplined and wants us to practise week in, week out. He analyses and explains to the players so that they do not repeat the same mistakes.

“Most of our players are police officers, and I think it’s difficult for them to combine both jobs. But they come to training and work hard.”

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