Following an encouraging return to the top-flight in 2015, the Fighters have high hopes of filling their trophy cabinet at the newly-built Tun Abdul Razak Stadium this season. So how are they shaping up?
Felda United may lack a massive fan base but that has not stopped them from playing a hand in changing the landscape of Malaysian football.
Felda's 2016 Transfers
- Gilberto Carlos Marangoni (Bragantino)
- Lutfulla Turayev (Lokomotiv Tashkent)
- Bobby Gonzales (Perak)
- Idris Ahmad (Perak)
- Abdul Shukor Jusoh (ATM)
- Norfazly Alias (ATM)
- Ahmad Ezrie Shafizie (PDRM)
- S. Sivanesan (Negri Sembilan)
- Ridzuan Abdunloh (Harimau Muda)
- Ndumba Makeche
- Indra Putra Mahayuddin
- Fauzan Dzulkifli
- Shahrul Saad
- Rashid Aya
- Nasriq Baharom
- Shahrulnizam Mustapha
- Bojan Miladinovic
- Abdul Latiff Suhaimi
- Qhairul Anwar Roslani
They start the season at a brand new stadium – the country’s first purpose-built football stadium – and are showing their intent of developing talent by investing in infrastructure for growth. At the top of the heirarchy, the management are keen on creating a winning culture.
There is no better way to kick that off than by winning their first major trophy in 2016, with club deputy president Datuk Isa Abu Kasim stating in no uncertain terms that the team’s target would be to win either the Malaysia Super League (MSL), FA Cup or Malaysia Cup.
Felda were formed in 2007 and won the third-tier FAM League in their maiden campaign to earn promotion to the Malaysia Premier League (MPL), which they then claimed at their third attempt in 2010. Earning promotion, the club hovered just outside the relegation places in the 2011 and 2012 MSL seasons before eventually losing the battle in 2013.
Irfan Bakti Abu Salim was appointed coach in the 2014 season to lead a revival and Felda have not looked back since. They finished runners-up to PDRM that campaign to return back to the top-flight while only losing 1-0 to Pahang in the FA Cup final in 2014. The Fighters also bowed out in the semi-finals of the last two Malaysia Cups.
Felda gave the big boys a run for their money last term and finished fifth in the MSL. Irfan believes the inclusion of Brazilian Gilberto Carlos Marangoni and Uzbek Lutfulla Turayev provide the team a better spine. Last year’s hotshot striker Thiago Augustor Fernandes and creative Liberian international Zah Rahan Krangar have signed on for another year too.
Felda have also brought in hard workers such as Abdul Shukor Jusoh, Norfazly Alias and Ahamd Ezrie Shafizie, while the likes of Bobby Gonzales, S. Sivanesan and Ridzuan Abdunloh provide options from the bench.
FFT'S MSL PREDICTION: 4th.
Strong tactically and good in Cups, they have proven inconsistent in the league.
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