MSL 2020 season preview: One season all that PDRM will get

With the new Malaysia Super League season on the horizon, Goal will be bringing to you the complete guide to all 12 teams in the competition. Going through the changes in the respective squads to see where they could finish come the end of the season. Our next preview is a side who won promotion through rather fortuitous circumstances; PDRM FA.

Patrick 'Ronaldinho' Wleh, PDRM FA, Malaysia Cup, 18082019

How they fared in 2019

The police side started the previous season in the second tier poorly under head coach Fauzi Pilus, going seven matches without a win. His sacking and the appointment of experienced trainer Elavarasan Elangowan eventually righted the ship. They would go on to record nine league matches, but faltered in the last round. To secure promotion, they needed a win at home against Pulau Pinang, who were also vying for the last remaining spot, but they instead ended up losing 2-1, in a match that featured a last-minute brawl.

All hope had seemed lost, when barely 24 hours later it was announced that the Panthers would have six points deducted for not paying a former player. The Cops were back in the third place (reserve team JDT II in second place could not be promoted), and are in the 2020 Malaysia Super League.

Ughe Agaba, PDRM FA, Malaysia Cup, 18082019

What's new in the squad

Unfortunately, wage issues of their own meant that many of their players left for other Malaysian clubs in the pre-season; such as Shahurain Abu Samah (Negeri Sembilan), Uche Agba (Melaka United), Stuart Wark (Terengganu FC), Shahril Sa'ari (Kedah), Azmizi Azmi (Felda United), Argzim Redzovic (Terengganu FC II), Lee Chang-hoon (Pulau Pinang) and Fauzan Fauzi (Kuala Lumpur).

Their replacements are not household names; only the likes of loaness K. Satish (PJ City) and Asri Mardzuki (Kedah), and former lower league player Dirga Surdi (Puchong Fuerza). New imports include Serdar Geldiyev, Shohrat Soyunov and former Selangor outcast Antonio German.

Elavarasan too left the one-time Premier League winners, to be replaced by Ishak Kunju.

Antonio German, Selangor, Rodney Celvin, PKNS FC, Malaysia Super League, 17022019

Who are the key players?

Little is known about the Cops' roster, as they have only eight full-time professionals this season, according to The Star. The rest are police personnel who play on a part-time basis.

It's safe to say that the pros will be relied upon to carry the team, as well as the foreigners.

Where they will finish in 2020

It is highly unlikely that the Cops will survive their first season back in the top tier since 2016. They had not initially ended their 2019 league campaign high up the standings, which suggests that even then, when they still had many pros on their roster, they did not have top-tier quality. And even before a kick is taken this season, they had three points docked for failing to settle their former players and staff's wages. It could have been nine, but a more recent six-point deducted was avoided at the last minute when they managed to agree on a payment plan with their debtors.

On top of not employing many pros and opting to go with four foreign players instead of the maximum allowed five, PDRM have also signed the unknown Ishak. For all these reasons, it is clear that they are nowhere near Super League quality, will be easy pickings for the other teams, and will probably end the campaign in bottom place, which begs the question; why have they been allowed to take part in Malaysia's top tier?

Also read our season previews on JDTKedahSelangor, PahangPerakMelaka United, Sabah, Petaling Jaya City, UiTM FC and Felda United.

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