With the Football Malaysia Limited Liability Partnership signalling the start of a new era in the 2016 season, Vijhay Vick takes a look at the 10 players who have endured difficulties but can still turn their fortunes around.
Muslim Ahmad (Kelantan)
Cut from PDRM's squad midway through the 2015 season, the Red Warriors have offered this former international defender a lifeline.
It was just slightly over a year ago that Muslim featured in the AFF Suzuki Cup final, but he will hope the subsequent events of 2015 remain a one-off. The speculation over the reasons he was dropped from PDRM's roster, which coincided with the sacking of coach Azman Adnan and the similar fate shared by midfielder Nurul Azwan Roya, are plenty.
His old club maintain it was purely due to the team’s poor performance however, as PDRM were lingering in seventh and conceding as many as they had scored after 15 games – a whopping 30.
Whatever the reason for their surprise exit, Muslim has a point to prove in 2016 and it is none other than showing he has what it takes to play at top level in Malaysian football. After all, age is still on his side at 26.
K. Gurusamy (Sarawak)
This midfield maestro had been primed to play a crucial role in Selangor’s 2014 MSL campaign but was instead forced to sit out for nine months following anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery that April.
He went on to pick up a few pounds and never reproduced the same form that first marked him as a player to watch when he returned in 2015. Gurusamy's supporters defended him, stating he was not given much game time as most of his 13 league appearances for Selangor last term came from the bench in the final minutes of matches.
Certainly, his exclusion by coach Mehmet Durakovic was rather peculiar considering the 26-year-old had been the Red Giants’ key player the previous year. Now though, Gurusamy reunites with former mentor K. Rajagobal, who he played under from his Bukit Jalil Sports School days until he arrived with the Malaysia national team.
Given Rajagobal has built up quite a reputation for sticking with trusted players during testing times, the new Sarawak midfielder will certainly be eyeing a return to prominence next season.