All is not well at the Pahang camp as they gear up for the 2020 M-League season.
The Elephants’ 2019 campaign ended disastrously when they failed to clinch any silverware despite being among the favourites. It does not look like things are going to get any better this year with a new-look team still trying to find their footing.
What’s worse, their stalwarts, Gambia-born Malaysian Mohamadou Sumareh and Frenchman Herold Goulon, are still struggling with injuries and doubtful to face Selangor.
“Sumareh has missed a number of our friendly matches while Goulon has already been out for 20 days. Our new import Ivan Carlos needs more time to get his touches, ” said coach Dollah Salleh.
Last season, the east coast side missed out on the Super League when they finished second and could only reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup. The dismal outing forced the management to tighten the purse strings, starting a player exodus.
The team ended up losing several seasoned players in Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, M. Kogileswaran Raj, A. Solomon, Zubir Azmi, Afif Amiruddin, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and skipper Matthew Davies, all of whom left for greener pastures.
The management has bolstered the squad by signing Brazilian striker Carlos, Filipino midfielder Adam Reed, Lebanese centreback Khalil Khamis, goalkeeper Sharbinee Allawee and winger R. Gopinathan.
The club also welcomed Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) duo S. Kumaahran and Fazly Mazlan on loan besides retaining centreback Goulon and Nigerian striker Dickson Nwakaeme.
However, it may not be enough to lift the Elephants ahead of their Super League opener against Selangor at the Darul Makmur Stadium on Saturday.
Dollah said he would be banking on fresh faces to lift the team and has refused to comment on the team’s chances of winning a title in the 2020 season.
“I don’t want to talk about targets this year… I will just trying to keep the Pahang flag flying and I’m still looking for my first 11, ” said the former international.
“We want to get the best combination between locals and the foreign players… we also need to get the squad to be consistently at their best.”