If we took away all the goals by foreign players, would Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) still be the 2015 Malaysia Super League champions? Would ATM and Sime Darby have survived? Lee Seng Foo finds out…
"JDT wouldn't have won the title if it weren't for their foreign players." That has been arguably the most popular notion by some of the rival fans after the Southern Tigers won the 2015 Malaysia Super League – and you cannot really blame them. Luciano Figueroa was a beast in front of goal, while the likes of Patito Rodriguez and Jorge Pereyra Diaz shone when they were around. However, is it really the case?
So, in the name of research, we have decided to take a look at how the final MSL table would look without the foreign players. How does it work? Basically we have put together a league table with only goals by Malaysian players – including own goals – and, at the same time, without every single one by foreign players including Singaporeans.
Before we begin, here’s what the real 2015 Malaysia Super League table looks like.
And this is how the 2015 Malaysia Super League table would look like without the goals by the foreigners.
As you can see, JDT would still top the league table, albeit with two fewer points. Even more impressively, they would theoretically not suffer any defeat for 19 consecutive matches until they faced Kelantan, whom they actually lost to 4-1. Their other defeat would come against Felda United in the final game of the season.
Besides the Southern Tigers (52.8 per cent), the only teams that had more goals by the locals than the foreign players were Selangor (55.8%) and Kelantan (52.9%). Hence, it is no surprise that both teams would climb up the league table thanks to their Malaysian talent delivering the goods in front of goal.
Meanwhile, Pahang would actually suffer the most, dropping 11 points to fifth. Zainal Abidin Hassan’s overreliance on his foreign trio – Matias Conti, Dickson Nwakaeme and Zesh Rehman – for goals throughout the season was evident, as only 25.6% of the Elephants’ goals were scored by the locals, the third lowest in the league after PDRM and Sime Darby (excluding LionsXII).
Unsurprisingly, LionsXII would be at the bottom due to them having only Singaporeans in the team, making it almost impossible for them to pick up a win in this hypothetical scenario. However, their performance is not as terrible as one would think, as they finished the season just a point behind Sime Darby, conceded lesser “local” goals than three teams, and actually managed to get a goal thanks to ATM defender Fazly Alias’ own goal back in June.
That being said, it is unfair for LionsXII to be stripped of all of their goal-scorers. So, in another hypothetical scenario, what if we include the goals by Singaporeans as well? Luckily for you, we have prepared that as well…