The founder of Felda United supporters’ group D’Fel Mania acknowledges the Malaysia Super League team has a low fan base, but tells FourFourTwo that the club’s growing stature and move to a new stadium will help it gain admirers.
Football support in Malaysia is still very much state-based. Clubs such as Felda, Sime Darby, PKNS and even Johor Darul Ta’zim still do not enjoy a large following.
MPPJ, Public Bank and MyTeam are among clubs that made a quick impact, but then faded and are now defunct.
The new signings beef up the squad and we are a stronger team overall
In some ways Felda are no different. Remarks on an anticipated difficulty to fill up their brand new 20,000-seat Tun Abdul Razak Stadium are often passed on social media.
Khairulniza Salam, who started D’Fel Mania in 2012, admits the club could do with better support, but is optimistic of an improved fan base in time.
He also suggested a marquee signing or two would help to attract more fans.
“The home games at Selayang last year attracted more fans than before. We need much more at the new stadium though … our group do have plans to hold side activities to get more people to the stadium,” he said.
“I only missed one match last year – the away fixture to Sarawak. I’m excited about the new stadium in Jengka, Pahang.
“We should sign a couple of big-name players to attract the fans, (although) we do have some big profiles … the likes of Christie Jayaseelan, Ahmad Syamim Yahya and Shukor Adan (pictured above).”
Khairulniza was also confident of Felda’s chances this year and believes Irfan Bakti Abu Salim’s men have what it takes to challenge for honours after missing out in the previous two years.
“I’d love to see Felda play in the Asian competition and for that to happen, we must win either the Malaysia Super League (MSL) or FA Cup,” he said.
“This could be the year. We did well in our first season back in top flight, finishing fifth. The new signings beef up the squad and we are a stronger team overall, especially since two defensive-minded players were signed.”
Defence was identified by Irfan as the team’s weakness in 2015 and the club has signed Brazilian Gilberto Carlos Marangoni and Uzbek Lutfulla Turayev to help plug the holes.