Thursday, 19 January 2012

Selangor struggling without a top striker

The Selangor FA (FAS) has not learnt from last season’s mistakes and its team are again without a prolific goal poacher for the new Super League season.

Selangor suffered one of their most embarrassing defeats in the Super League on Tuesday when the 32-time Malaysia Cup champions were edged 1-0 by Felda United at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca.

FAS signed Congolese striker Lelo Mbele for the new season to solve its team’s woeful strike force but the former international has yet to play a match due to injury.

Captain Amri Yahyah leads the Selangor attack in his absence while second striker R. Surendren is also out injured.

According to coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim, the 25-year-old Mbele will take months before he can reach full fitness.

“Mbele is still limping ... he is training with the squad but his movement and reaction is not up to expectation. I don’t think he can play,” the disappointed Irfan told Timesport yesterday.

Irfan, the former Terengganu coach, said his team were in desperate need for a quality hitman.

“We cannot go on without a quality striker. Mbele is good but unless he can make a quick recovery, we should look for options,” said Irfan.

“I think we should take the opportunity to get a quality striker before the window to register foreign players closes on Feb 13. However, it is up the management.”

On Selangor’s defeat to Felda, Irfan said his team were affected by the afternoon heat and the physical game played by their opponents.

“The heat affected us but we cannot use that as an excuse as Felda were also playing in similar conditions. We played better after Felda scored but my players failed to take their chances.

“I think we wasted about five or six scoring opportunities. Felda also made it difficult for us as they played a physical game and had about six players yellow-carded,” he said.

Left-back P. Gunalan’s failed attempt to clear the ball in the 27th minute allowed Felda striker Azrul Ahmad to sneak into the penalty box and score from a grounder past goalkeeper Norazlan Razali.

National captain Safiq Rahim, along with other midfielders, also failed to spark in the match.

FAS secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin declined to elaborate on Mbele’s condition when contacted yesterday.

“The management will meet to discuss about Mbele and whether there is a need to replace him with another foreign striker. Mbele is on a six-month contract with Selangor,” said Hamidin.

Selangor will be looking to bounce back when they face Sarawak at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

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