MISC-MIFA and PKNP confident of matching professional peers

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MISC-MIFA and PKNP will make their professional debut in the Malaysia Premier League next year but they are not there to make up the numbers. 

FAM Cup champions Malaysia Indian Sports Council-Malaysia Indian Football Association (MISC-MIFA) and runners-up Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) FC will begin their journey as full-fledged professional teams when they debut in the Malaysia Premier League (MPL) next season.

Sustainability will be the main concern for both teams.  In the past, several newly-promoted MPL teams overspent and eventually withdrew from the league after incurring financial losses.

Former Malaysia Cup champions Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) FC and 2004 Malaysian Super League (MSL) runners-up Public Bank FC are among the former FAM Cup teams who made it to the big leagues but were eventually dissolved for various reasons.

But MISC-MIFA and PKNP believe they have the financial backing to sustain in the second-tier competition with an eye on playing top flight football one day.

MISC-MIFA only had a budget of RM800,000 this year but they upset the odds to win the FAM Cup. They defeated PKNP 3-1 on aggregate in the final.

Formed in 2014, MISC-MIFA’s budget for next season has been increased to RM3.5 million but the amount is considered small as teams in the MPL spend between RM5 and RM10 million a season, on average.

MISC-MIFA, however, face another challenge. Some of their best players are being enticed with high salaries by big budget teams.

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MIFA coach Joseph is adamant the club will not overspend. Photo: MIFA

In the just-concluded season, the 25-member squad were only paid between RM1,500 and RM4,500 a month.

Goalkeeper Khairul Izzuwan Shaari, defenders M. Yoges and Ooi Shee Keong, and midfielder M. Thinnadkaran who all starred for MISC-MIFA could leave the club as they have been offered more than RM10,000 each by teams in the FAM Cup and MPL.

Coach Jacob Joseph is adamant that he will not go beyond the club’s salary cap of RM7,000 to hold on to his players.

“MISC-MIFA are a small club and we want to take things step-by-step in the MPL. Avoiding demotion will be our target next year. We will only aim for promotion to the MSL if we do respectably in the first two seasons in the MPL,” Joseph told FourFourTwo.

I have seen newly promoted clubs spending between RM8 and RM12 million in their first season in the MPL. They eventually withdrew from the league when their coffers dried up

- MIFA coach Joseph

“I have seen newly promoted clubs spending between RM8 and RM12 million in their first season in the MPL. They eventually withdrew from the league when their coffers dried up.

“These clubs wanted instant success and spent a lot on quality players but only a few made an impact. Their bosses eventually got fed up and decided to dissolve the teams.”

For their first season in the MPL, MISC-MIFA are looking for young players to join the 14 retained from the just-concluded season.

“We will scout for players and also hold trials. We want to develop youngsters and our priority is to get fresh graduates from the President’s Cup.

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Several players are set to leave MIFA. Photo: MIFA

“We have so many quality youth players in Malaysia but most of them do not get to play for their state senior teams. We want to tap these players and give them a chance in the MPL.

“The club have approved my request to hire foreigners. We may sign three players from Slovakia and Slovenia as they come cheap.”

Joseph said many out-of-contract players are keen to join MISC-MIFA but they are demanding for high salaries.

“We do not have a budget to offer RM20,000 a month to players. I have told them to look for other clubs as I am only interested in securing youngsters.”

Unlike MISC-MIFA, Perak-based club PKNP are set to enjoy a bigger budget for their first season in the MPL. The team spent RM5 million this year.

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PKNP might lose players to their parent club, Perak. Photo: PKNP

Coach Abu Bakar Fadzim will retain 70 per cent of this year’s squad and hire four foreigners but the only concern is whether their status as the unofficial feeder team to Perak would affect their campaign in the MPL.

In the just-concluded season, PKNP relied on Perak rejects and those who formerly played for the state’s President’s Cup and Malaysia Games teams for results.

“PKNP and Perak work closely. We took in former state players for the FAM Cup and also had youngsters. I will have no issues if Perak decide to absorb some of our players into their senior team for the MSL next season.

“We achieved the management’s target this season and we expect a bigger budget for next year.

“The club need to spend in order to compete with top MPL teams. However, a bigger budget comes with responsibility. We must avoid relegation and finish respectably in the league and also the Cup competitions,” said Abu.

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Coach Abu Bakar expects PKNP to get a bigger budget next year. Photo: PKNP

The coach said several foreign agents have already contacted him to offer players.

“Agents will normally target new teams and offer players. We need to be careful and sign the right ones,” Abu added.

It is learnt that former PDRM and Perak striker Charles Chad is on PKNP’s radar for the new season.

The Brazilian made his debut in the MPL with PDRM in 2014, where he scored 21 goals, and in the following season, he netted 12 goals for Perak in the MSL.

He was a mid-season signing for MPL side Perlis this year but he failed to shine with only seven goals to show.

Main Photo: MIFA