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Monday July 11, 2005

MPPJ survive, Feichtenbeiner keeps his job

PETALING JAYA: Petaling Jaya Municipal Council's (MPPJ) slim 1-0 win over Sabah not only ensured their survival in the Super League but it also kept German Michael Feichtenbeiner his job as the coach. 

MPPJ finished fifth in the league with 27 points – thanks to Sabah’s Brazilian defender Leosmar Nascimento who scored a 60th-minute own goal in the 1-0 win. 

MPPJ survived the drop to the Premier League together with Penang. The two relegated sides were Public Bank and Sabah. 

Feichtenbeiner – who had previously coached German club sides Stuttgart Kickers, Darmstadt 98 and Pfullendorf – took over MPPJ from Redzuan Abdullah in late March when the team were languishing in the relegation zone after the first round. 

The German has a contract to run with MPPJ until the end of the season but his future had depended on whether MPPJ remained in the Super League. 

Feichtenbeiner made some drastic changes to the team, including dropping two Argentines – striker Sebastian Omar Manesterollo and midfielder Bruno Sebastian Martelotto. 

The German has also been a controversial figure. 

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) handed him a two-match suspension for storming onto the pitch in MPPJ’s away game against Sabah in May. 

MPPJ president Datuk Ahmad Termizi Putih said: “We will be making an overall assessment of the players as well as the management team. 

“But we are happy with the coach. He will be in charge of the team for the Malaysia Cup. And I don’t see why Feichtenbeiner shouldn’t be the coach next season. 

“Any changes to team, including the transfer of players, will only take place at the end of the season.” 

However, Ahmad Termizi was not entirely happy with the team’s performance this season. 

In the 21 league matches, MPPJ, who moved up to the Super League this season as Premier League champions, won eight and drew three matches. 

They scored 29 goals this season with Zimbabwean Katanha Ben Newton their top scorer with 11 goals. 

MPPJ suffered embarrassing loses to Perak (1-5) two weeks ago, Perlis (0-4) last month and Public Bank (2-4) in April. 

“We managed to meet our target of surviving in the Super League. But our performance was just average this season,” said Ahmad. 

“There is a huge gap between MPPJ and the top teams like Pahang and Perlis. We need to bridge this gap. We need to buck up if we are to put up a stronger performance next season.”