Premier League side Sime Darby FC are all the wiser for missing out on promotion to the Super League last season.
Sime Darby’s Premier League debut got off to a good start before hitting the skids in the second half of the season and they finished fifth out of 12 teams.
Coach Ismail Zakaria said they have learnt their lesson well and taken steps to rectify the flaws.
“We had an injury crisis towards the end of the season.
“We lost our attacking players and it ruined our chances of promotion,” Ismail said at the presentation of the 2012 team in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“For the new campaign, we have added depth by signing on young players to bolster the midfield and attack.”
Among Sime Darby’s notable signings are two Liberian internationals – striker Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh and midfielder Sengbah Kennedy. They have also roped in former PKNS players Mohd Zamri Hassan and Irme Mat and Johor’s Mohd Shoufiq Mohd Khusaini.
Ismail has also given a new lease of life to troubled former Perak hitman Razali Umar Kandasamy and retained his defence, which conceded only 12 goals in 22 matches last season.
“Some have questioned our decision to sign Razali but we believe in his abilities and are happy with his performance in training and the friendlies,” said Ismail.
On Sime Darby’s target, Ismail said: “It will be difficult to gain promotion as the competition will be much tougher.
“Although Armed Forces and Sime Darby are regarded as the favourites, state sides like Pahang and Perlis will be strong contenders as well.”
Sime Darby kick off their campaign on Jan 9 with a home game against Harimau Muda B at Selayang MC Stadium.