BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Selangor have bolstered their attack with the return of Indonesia star Andik Vermansyah and former golden boy Amri Yahyah, and it is understandable that head coach Maniam Pachaiappan will be looking to change his line-up.
The friendly match against Premier League side MISC-MIFA on Wednesday provided some early ideas as to who will be in his first team, with both Amri and Andik playing alongside the key members.
In the match, Amri and Andik sandwiched target man Forkey Doe in front, but both played slightly different roles. The veteran dropped slightly deeper between the centre circle and the opponents’ penalty area from time to time in a false nine role to provide through passes to Doe, while the Indonesian hugged the touchline, ready to receive passes and to make his trademark nippy, penetrating runs.
The two recent additions were also seen swapping sides a number of times, which should make opponents’ effort of man-marking them tough.
Although Doe’s future with the Red Giants is still in limbo following his recent run-in with the law, Maniam after the match told the press that he is only looking to make changes in the target man role. This means that even if the Liberian is given the boot, the core gameplay of Maniam’s team will not change much.
With Amri and Andik coming in up front, East Timorese attacker Juliano Mineiro, one of the two pre-season signings who had been brought in to replace Andik, will drop into midfield alongside Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat, and that was exactly what transpired against MISC.
The other foreign pre-season signing, Victor Astafei meanwhile has been released, announced the club on Friday.
Saiful’s previous partner in central midfield; Abdul Halim Zainal will then drop out of the first team, which should strengthen Selangor’s engine room, arguably the Red Giants’ weakest area in the first half of the season.
The rest of the positions should not see many changes; considering that Maniam has not signed any other new players, and is unlikely to sign more apart from the earlier-mentioned target man role.
The right and left winger roles are likely to be retained by youngsters Syahmi Safari and Kannan Kalaiselvan, who will push up to provide the extra men in attack, or come down to assist the defence.
And in defence it is the usual suspects; Ugo Ukah, skipper Razman Roslan and either Bunyamin Omar or Rizal Fahmi Rosid; protecting first-choice goalkeeper Khairulazhan Khalid.
The area that Maniam is looking to improve the most is of course their attacking, considering that the number of goals they have conceded in the Super League; 14 is the second lowest after JDT’s 11, while their goal count is the fifth lowest in the 12-team competition; 17. Even ninth-placed PKNS FC have outscored them by five goals.
How Selangor’s first XI could look like following Amri Yahyah and Andik Vermansyah’s arrival