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MISC-MIFA on mission to repair image after match-fixing saga

FOLLOWING the recent disgraceful match-fixing scandal, MISC-MIFA are now on a mission to repair their tainted image as they focus on avoiding relegation from the Malaysia Premier League (MPL).

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The club are just above the relegation zone at 10th in the table on goal difference over 11th-place Perlis, with each having garnered six points in 13 matches.

Goalkeeper Mohd Khairul Izzuwan Shaari, 26 and S. Harivarman, 27, were detained by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and subsequently charged for fixing matches in April.

Argentine centre-back Alan Aciar, who was remanded but not charged by MACC, mutually terminated his contract with the club when he was released from detention and has since left Malaysia.

Alan Aciar is one of those that has been asked to leave

Midfielder Steven Imbiri returned to Indonesia after mutually terminating his contract with MISC-MIFA following the scandal.

Six other players and one official were in MACC’s list of suspects and were supposed to be called up for questioning.

All six formerly played for now-defunct clubs MP Muar and NS Betaria who were implicated for match-fixing when they were in the MPL.

Jacob Joseph was relieved of his duties following the scandal as MISC-MIFA’s senior team coach last month

However, MACC did not take any action on them. The scandal has morally affected the players and the club are now using the ongoing mid-season transfer window to recruit new blood.

A MISC-MIFA official is thankful that the club conducted its own investigation over match-fixing before the arrest were made as things were getting from bad to worse.

He claimed that suspicious characters not only used to be at their training ground in Nilai watching the players go through drills, but also given privileges to enter the team’s dressing room after matches.

Jacob Joseph was relieved of his duties following the scandal as MISC-MIFA’s senior team coach last month and he now handles the club’s academies across the country. He is contracted until November.

There could be further changes to the squad

MISC-MIFA had initially offered compensation to Joseph to leave the club but the former national women’s team coach refused to accept the offer.

Former Selangor and Kelantan coach K. Devan has been hired as the club's technical director on a short-term basis.

Devan has effectively taken over the coaching duties and has been given a freehand to recruit new local and foreign players.

Devan, who helped Selangor win two Super League crowns and a FA Cup title, has also received offers from Melaka and another Malaysia Super League (MSL) club.

“I was hired to work with the club in an advisory capacity. I am here to help until further announcements are made over players and other matters,” said Devan who is paid on a monthly basis by the club.

“I do not have long term obligations with MISC-MIFA. I will leave once a good offer comes.”

Devan has effectively taken over the coaching duties and has been given a freehand to recruit new local and foreign players.

MISC-MIFA have so far recruited Negeri Sembilan’s fourth choice goalkeeper Ezad Ariff Jamaluddin and Egyptian forward Mohammed Talaat Abdelrahman Abdou, who had unsuccessful trials with Malaysia Super League (MSL) sides Sarawak and Selangor, for the remainder of the season.

It is said that Cameroon's Tagne Dimitri or Nigerian Michael Ijezie, who used to play for NS Betaria, will be dropped.

Dimitri is the club's top scorer with 12 goals and in contention for the league's Golden Boot award while Ijezie has netted eight times this season.

MISC-MIFA players have been engaging in team building activities in hope the efforts would help motivate them when they resume their campaign in the MPL against Kuala Lumpur on June 30.

Photos: Asiana.my