2017 Malaysia Premier League: Our complete team-by-team preview
It could be a rollercoaster ride for Perlis as their management have a habit of delaying payment of salaries.
They spent a lot in 2016 to hire former national coach Dollah Salleh and other notable players, but the efforts proved futile as they could only finish sixth.
Razip Ismail has now taken over from Dollah and his goal is to rebuild the squad from scratch as many players abandoned the club after the completion of last season.
Jamaican defender Damion Stewart, plus Korean midfielders Oh Kyu Bin and Park Yong Joon are the foreign signings. They have been promised a striker from Queens Park Rangers but the player has yet to materialise.
“We cannot aim too high with a new team. Perlis will never be in contention if they keep losing players to other clubs. I am rebuilding the club and, hopefully, we can pose a serious threat in 2018,” said Razip.
After spending two seasons in the MSL, PDRM are now back in the MPL, but they do not intend to stay long.
The club has secured striker Shakir Ali and midfielder Shahurain Abu Samah on loans from PKNS and also signed former Johor goalkeeper Al-Hafiz Hamzah and central midfielder Mohd Faizol Hussien.
They have retained Malian defender Souleymane Konate and Singaporean utility player Safuwan Baharudin. The new foreign signing are Ivory Coast’s Frederic Pooda and Dao Bakary, who was top-scorer for Kuantan FA with 15 goals in 2016.
“We cannot afford to drop points against weak teams as only five or six clubs in the MPL will be challenging for the top positions. We had decent results in recent friendly matches and I think we will progress accordingly,” said coach Fauzi Pilus.
Armed Forces were initially relegated from the MPL after finishing 11th last season, but they were invited back following DRB-Hicom’s decision to withdraw from the competition.
The club is using the same formula as last season by depending on only local army personnel in the MPL.
They have signed inexpensive imports in Korean Bae Beom Geun, Kazakhstan’s Khasan Abdukarimov and Uzbekistan’s Sirojiddin Allaev and Sirojiddin Rakhmatullaev to guide the others.
“We were already preparing for life in the FAM Cup when we received an invitation to return to the MPL. I immediately agreed but I told my management to hire foreign players. We are not a strong team but I think we can cause a few upsets as the league progresses,” said Azhar.