MALAYSIAN Indian Sports Council — Malaysian Indian Football Association (MISC-MIFA) are wiser and well prepared for their challenge in the FAM Cup competition.
MISC-MIFA’s newly appointed manager J. Dhinagaran said last season was a learning curve for them.
“It was valuable experience and we realised the challenges in facing the established teams in the competition.
“This year we have overcome the problems. We have assembled a fairly strong side with several players from last season as well as promoting some players from the Under-19 squad.
“We also have some players who have featured for top teams in the Football Association of Selangor (FAS) league,” said Dhinagaran.
Last year, MISC-MIFA, making their debut in the 12-team FAM Cup, ended the season, in ninth spot, with 23 points from six wins, five draws and 11 defeats.
MISC-MIFA re-structured its management and coaching committees. Former National women’s coach Jacob Joseph was engaged as the head coach while Dhinagaran, the MIFA deputy president, took over the manager’s post. Last year, MISC-MIFA had former international K. Sanbagamaran as the coach.
MIFA president Datuk T. Mohan said their preparations started about six months ago.
“We had also shifted our training base to AIMST University in Sungai Petani. The new environment gives the manager and coach the opportunity to plan their training programme more efficiently.
“The team has also played quite a number of friendly matches against state teams as well as Premier League teams.
“The results were immaterial but the matches gave the coach opportunities to evaluate the players. Looking at the progress, we have reasons to be optimistic of a good finish in the competition,” said Mohan.
MISC-MIFA have also roped in former international K. Nanthakumar to their side.
The 37-year-old Nanthakumar comes with vast experience and had played for several teams in the M-League.
MISC-MIFA are in Group B with Malacca, Harimau Muda C, MOF, Kedah Malays, AirAsia All Stars, Johor Darul Tak’zim III, Ipoh Football Association and Young Fighters.
Group A has Perlis, Shahzan Muda, PBAPP, Sungai Ara, Hanelang, UKM, Felcra, Real Mulia, Negri Sembilan Prisons and Megah Murni.
After the preliminary rounds, the top team from Group A and Group B will meet in the final to determine the FAM Cup champions.
Deputy Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan, who unveiled the MISC-MIFA jersey for the new season, congratulated the team management for their efforts in assembling a strong team for the FAM Cup.
“They have gone through a lot of problems but nevertheless showed their commitment towards the development of football at the grassroots. We would like to see the players in MISC-MIFA graduating to play for the state and eventually the national squad,” said Saravanan.
MISC-MIFA will start the season in the FA Cup. They will be meeting Sungai Ara FC, from Penang, in the first round this Friday.
In the FAM Cup, kicking off on March 8, MISC-MIFA will meet Ipoh Football Association at the DRB-Hicom-Honda ground in Sungai Petani.
The MISC-MIFA contingent
Head of Contingent: Datuk T. Mohan
Head coach: Jacob Joseph
Manager: J. Dhinagaran
Players: K. Depan Sakwati, Mohd Khairul Izzuwan Shaari, K. Nanthakumar. S. Sumindran, Ahmad Kamil Abdul Gani, Muhammad Munawwar Shavukath Ali, S. Harivarman, K. Premananthan, B. Tinagaran, Muhammad Fauzi Abdul Kadar, M. Youwarasan, S. Pandiaraj, L. Thanaraj, David Gunasingam, R. Kumaraguru, S. Sadesh Kumar, L. Rajesh, Richard Nanthan, M. Tinnadkaran, Zailan Mohammad, P. Ashwin, Ooi Shee Keong, Muhamad Zahid Ahmad, Mohd Afiq Akmal Zunaidi, Mohamad Zaihisham Md Saad, S. Vivekanthan.
A fairly strong side with several players from last season as well as promoted some players are in the squad