PDRM coach Azman Adnan not expecting an easy game
LIONSXII v PDRM
(Tonight, 7.30pm, StarHub TV Ch 112/205 & 76.25MHz)
There was no hard running, no rehearsal of set-pieces.
Indeed, there wasn't a hint of a tactical workout at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday during PDRM's final training session ahead of the Malaysian Super League (MSL) opener against the LionsXII tonight.
The main feature of coach Azman Adnan's hour-long session was shooting practice.
But if scoring goals, and beating the LionsXII on their own turf to announce PDRM's arrival at Malaysia's top-tier competition was his aim, the former Malaysian international was not letting on.
"We will just try our best," he said, of tonight's match.
"It won't be an easy game, we are a team who have just been promoted, and the LionsXII have been together for a long time."
Indeed, that seems to be the mantra for the team's entire season.
NO TARGETS SET
"We all want to win, but we haven't set any targets this season, our focus is to take things game by game," said the man who took over the reins in the middle of last season when Dollah Salleh vacated the role to become Malaysia's national team coach.
PDRM beat the LionsXII 1-0 in the Pomis Cup, a pre-season tournament hosted in the Maldives that the Kuala Lumpur-based side won, but Azman did not want to read too much into that fixture.
"That was a morale-booster for the players, but really, past results don't really have any meaning, and more so because there is a big difference between pre-season games and real competitive matches," said Azman, who was once rated at RM1 million by KL FA to detract suitors from poaching the then 21-year-old forward.
Now 43, Azman has in his bullpen the prodigious talents of Ali Ashfaq, believed to be the best footballer to emerge from the Maldives, and Mali international Dramane Traore who looks to be forming a deadly partnership that can deliver goals.
Ashfaq, 29, bagged 25 goals in all competitions last year, with Traore, 32, looking to be shaping up nicely for the 2015 season as he was named player of the tournament after PDRM won the Pomis Cup.
But Azman did not want to focus on his foreign players.
"It's not just them, the local players all need to play their part. We are not a bunch of individuals, this team are a family, and our emphasis is on team work," he said.
Azman has a full squad at his disposal, but a visa issue has seen Nigerian central defender Onorionde Kughegbe failing to travel with the team, but Azman is confident that the 31-year-old will be able to link up with the team before tonight's match.
"We will just try our best. It won’t be an easy game, we are a team who have just been promoted, and the LionsXII have been together for a long time"
- Coach Azman Adnan on tonight’s match