Wednesday May 11, 2005
German touch lifts MPPJ
BY S. SIVABALAN
PETALING JAYA: Before he arrived, Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) appeared to be the candidates for relegation from the Super League.
But German coach Michael Feichtenbeiner (pic) has in just four matches in the second round turned things around.
MPPJ, who were at the bottom of the eight-team table three weeks ago, have won three of the four matches to move out of the relegation zone.
In his first match in charge on April 26, Feichtenbeiner saw the weakness in the team as they crashed to a 2-4 defeat by Public Bank.
Since then, Feichtenbeiner has managed to come up with the winning formula. MPPJ beat Malacca Telekom 1-0 (April 30), Perak 3-1 (May 3) and last Saturday, they edged Penang 3-2.
MPPJ are now fifth in the standings with 16 points ahead of Malacca Telekom (15), Sabah (15) and Perak (12).
I took over as coach in the first week of April. We had training sessions and a few friendly matches before the league resumed last month. But you never know the real strength of the team until they play a competitive match, said the 44-year-old Feichtenbeiner, who took over the helm from Redzuan Abdullah.
When we played Public Bank, it turned out to be a disappointment. They played well in the first half but fell back in the second.
I told them that I dont ever want to see them playing like that again.
I also told them they cant wait for success to happen and they have to fight for it.
The players are eager to learn. Therefore, they have improved with each match.
Feichtenbeiner had only two weeks to decide whether he wanted to take up the job with MPPJ in late March.
Feichtenbeiner, who had previously coached Stuttgart Kickers, Darmstadt 98 and Pfullendorf, said: I was unemployed at that time. I came to know about MPPJ from the agent who handled Ben Newtons (Katanha) transfer.
Zimbabwean Katanha signed up as the fourth foreign player in the MPPJ side in March.
I was only given two weeks to decide. Since my son is only one-and-a-half-years-old, I felt it was okay for me to travel, said Feichtenbeiner.
I also felt that Malaysia would be a good experience and decided to take up the offer. But I will return to Germany when my son starts going to school.
Feichtenbeiner has a contract to run with MPPJ until the end of the season and his future with the team will depend on whether the team survive in the Super League.
In the meantime, he is getting used to the Malaysian lifestyle and enjoying his stint with MPPJ.
One thing good about Malaysia is that you can find somewhere to eat even after midnight, he said.