Former international Rusdi Suparman (pic) will go all out this season to win the Premier I Golden Boot Award, which is the only accolade the Selangor striker has not won in his football career with the Red Giants in the M-League since 1993.
The 29-year-old Rusdi, who is popularly known as “Superman”, has won all the major titles and medals there is to win in Malaysian football and he just wants to complete his collection with the top goal scorer's award. He came close to winning it twice – in 2000 (10 goals) and 2001 (11 goals).
“I am not finished yet. There is a good chance for me to achieve my goal with Selangor this season,” said Rusdi following the departure of Azman Adnan and Mass Sarr Jr, who were the top scorers of the team last year.
“It wasn't smooth for me last year and I did not get to play in the first team very often. But I am ready to claim a regular spot this season and score the goals to win the Golden Boot this time.”
The FA of Selangor (FAS), in a surprise move, have not extended the contracts of Azman and Sarr Jr, who were instrumental in the team's success in the Malaysia Cup last year. The duo scored a total of 26 goals.
The task upfront will now rest on Rusdi, who has four Malaysia Cup winners' medals (1995, '96, '97 and 2000), two FA Cup medals (1997, 2001), Premier I (2000), Premier II (1993), three Charity Shield medals (1996, '97, 2002) and Premier II Golden Boot (1999).
Rusdi said that he had been faithful to Selangor for 10 years now and is still determined to win more honours with them this season. Rusdi is expected to fight for places with current national striker Mohamed Nizaruddin Yusof and Mohamed Fareed Shah Hassan.
“I admit it was not a good season for me last year but I am prepared to make amends to fight my way back. I still have a lot to offer to my team. I hope to prove it this year,'' said Rusdi, who last played with the national team in the 2000 Asean Football Federation's (AFF) Tiger Cup in Songkhla where he finished as the leading scorer with six goals.
Meanwhile, Selangor will be travelling to Singapore to play in a quadrangular tournament from Jan 20-26.
Assistant coach K. Gunalan said that the quadrangular would serve as their final warm-up before they opened their campaign in Premier I with the Charity Shield match against FA Cup champions Penang at the Shah Alam Stadium on Feb 8.
The Red Giants will be up against strong oppositions – Woodland Wellington of Singapore, who are coached by Malaysia M. Karathu, and M-League sides Penang and Kedah.
The FA of Selangor's secretary, Mohamed Hamidin Amin, said that they had retained Croatian defender Ivica Kulasevic for another term and were looking for a foreign striker.
Selangor, which edged Sabah on golden goal to win the Malaysia Cup last year, have lost seven senior players.
The seven who have joined other teams are Azman, Yusri Che Lah, Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan, Mohamed Aiman Wong, B. Rajanikandh, Lim Chan Yew and Azlisham Ibrahim.