Looking for a breakthrough: Dollah Salleh is left with a tall order as he seeks to assemble a formidable Pahang side in the Super League next season.
The 53-year-old former international has been tasked with ending the east coast side’s two-year title drought.
During his first stint with Pahang, he and his assistant Zainal Abidin Hassan were responsible for the Elephants’ meteoric rise during their more than five-year stay, which included back-to-back Malaysia Cup titles (2013-2014).
But things have changed since Dollah moved to Police (2014) and Perlis (2015). Zainal joined Selangor this season.
Since then, Pahang have won nothing. Their best achievement was a runner-up finish in the Super League last season.
The core of the team has left for greener pastures and Dollah is now left with a tall order as he seeks to assemble a formidable side for the new season.
“In the past, we had an established set of players who came up through the ranks from our development squad (Shahzan Muda).
“Over the last two years, many changes have taken place and Pahang are not the same feared team anymore. They were lucky to stay in the top flight this season,” said the former national coach.
“I’m trying to do something here and build a team with some new players from the neighbouring states.
“I have more or less identified the local players and will also scout for some influential foreigners,” said Dollah.
In the last two years, Pahang have lost many players, including home-grown talents like goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid, Mohd Hafiz Kamal, R. Gopinathan (to Selangor); R. Surendran (Malacca); and Azamuddin Akil (Johor Darul Ta’zim).
This time Dollah has opted for players mostly from the east coast.
Among the new signings are Zubir Ibrahim, Ahmad Nordin Alias, Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin, Joseph Kalang Tie (Terengganu); Muslim Ahmad, Wan Zaharulnizam Zahari (Kelantan).
The other new signings include Syamim Yahaya (Felda); Afif Amiruddin (Perlis); Muhd Nuridzuan Abu Hassan (Perak); Wan Azraie Wan Teh (Terengganu FC II).