KUALA LUMPUR: With just eight days to go before the new season for the Malaysia Super League kicks-off on February 1st, all 12 teams look quite busy with their preparations which include a ‘shopping spree’ of sorts to snap up the best players available during the two months of pre-season this time round.
Even though there was all sorts of ‘drama’ as well during the transfer window such as the wrangle and tussle surrounding young forward Akhyar Rashid and Syazwan Andik, the developments surrounding the movement of coaches in the Malaysia League (M-League) has also attraction the attention and interest of local football fans.
Of the 12 coaches who will lead their teams in Super League competition, only five teams have engaged new coaches with the other seven teams keeping the faith with their existing coaches.
Three top winning teams from last season, defending Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), Malaysia Cup champions Perak and FA Cup champions Pahang have retained the services of their coaches from last season, with Luciano Figueroa (JDT), Mehmet Durakovic (Perak) and Dollah Salleh (Pahang) expected to lead their respective teams in successfully defending the titles that they won and on to more glory and silverware once again for the coming new season.
Irfan Bakti who came so close to leading Terengganu to Malaysia Cup glory last season where they were beaten on penalties by eventual winners Perak, has been retained by The Turtles, while K. Rajagobal (PKNS FC), K. Devan (Petaling Jaya City) and Abu Bakar Fadzim (Perak SEDC) have also been entrusted to continue leading their respective teams’ charge for the new season.
However, where Premier League champions Felda United are concerned, they have promoted Nidzam Jamil as coach to replace B. Sathianathan who has left for greener pastures by joining Selangor.
Even though Sathianathan’s departure to The Red Giants was overshadowed by salary arrears issue on Felda United’s part, it also paved the way for Nidzam to take charge of the team as the youngest coach in the history of the Malaysia Super League at 39-years-old.
Kedah, who have overhauled almost their entire team, became yet another team to engage the services of a foreign coach after JDT and Perak by hiring Aidil Sharin Sahak from Singapore to replace Nidzam Adzha Yusoff who has moved on to Melaka albeit a rung down as assistant coach.
Former national stalwart, Zainal Abidin Hassan who went through a forgettable time last season with Penang is now in charge of Melaka, while another former international, Yusri Che Lah will spearhead Kuala Lumpur’s challenge.