Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sime Darby looking to challenge leaders in Premier League

Armed Forces and Pahang are making waves as the two frontrunners for the Premier League title this year.

They have made perfect starts to the season to share the lead with nine points from three straight wins each.

However, an ambitious Sime Darby FC, who are currently placed fourth on six points behind Police (seven points), are not too bothered by the two teams’ sizzling start.

“We will know the true strength of the teams in the competition only after seven or eight matches. It is too early to make a call but, of course, everyone is impressed with Forces and Pahang’s strong showings,” said Sime Darby FC head coach Ismail Zakaria yesterday.

The task facing the teams hoping to gain promotion this year is more difficult because the FA of Malaysia (FAM) will allow only one team – the champions – an automatic slot in the Super League next year. 

Previously, the top two teams from the Premier League were promoted to the Super League.

This time, the runners-up will fight for their place against a Super League team in the playoffs.

Sime Darby won their opening two matches – with identical 2-1 scores against Harimau Muda B and Perlis – before losing 2-1 to Pahang.

Ismail, meanwhile, seems satisfied with his new foreign buys from Liberia – Patrick Ronaldinho Wleh and Sengbah Kennedy.

“I am satisfied with the progress made by the players, including the locals. Some were merely reserves with teams in the Super League but they have blended in well with us,” said Ismail of the newcomers – Rosli Muda, Mohd Asyraf Al-Japri and Mohd Shoufiq Khusaini.

He named Ronaldinho, with one goal, as the biggest threat to the other teams.

“We will hear more of this player. It was just too bad that he had to sit out the match against Pahang because of suspension but he will be back for our next game against Armed Forces (at the Selayang Stadium) on Friday,” said Ismail.

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