Watch this space – Eight lower-league Malaysians destined for stardom

The Malaysia Premier League (MPL) and the FAM Cup provide perfect breeding grounds for future stars in the country. Here are the eight players who could play for Malaysia Super League (MSL) teams next season.

N. Thanabalan (Felcra FC)

The 22-year-old dedicates every goal he scores to his father S. Nadarajah, who is paralysed from the chest down following a road accident in 2013.

Thanabalan joined Negeri Sembilan in 2013 where he featured in the President's Cup.

As he is the sole breadwinner in his family, he needed a higher salary and Negeri decided to loan him to FAM Cup side Felcra FC in the ongoing season. He has netted five goals in 10 appearances so far for the club.

Thanabalan is now a household name in the country, having scored five goals for the national youth team so far this season. He was part of the national team that qualified for the AFC Under-23 Championship last month.

The striker, who is now starring in Malaysia’s impressive SEA Games campaign, can expect teams from the MSL to line up to secure his services next season.

Adib Zainuddin (Felcra FC)

The former Johor President’s Cup defender was part of the Harimau Muda development programme in 2014 before he signed for University Technology Mara (UiTM) the following year.

It was a good move as UiTM allowed the 22-year-old to pursue his degree, although with a below-market salary offer.

He spent two seasons with the MPL club before he was loaned out to Felcra at the start of season. He wanted the loan move as Felcra offered him a better salary.

Many describe him as one of the best defenders in the country and the no-nonsense player, who is the captain of the national youth team, is expected to get offers from top clubs next season.

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