Felda turn to local youngsters to overcome financial crisis

Last update: 18/01/2019

BANGI, Jan 18 (Bernama) -- Felda United FC (FUFC) have taken proactive steps to overcome their financial problems by fielding a squad comprising 60 percent Felda youngsters for this season´s Super League challenge.

FUFC president Anuar Malek said that apart from helping them recover from the financial crisis, it would also give the youngsters, who are the children of Felda settlers, the chance to prove their capabilities.

For this season, The Fighters, as FUFC are also known, will have eight Felda youngsters, seven of whom came through the Felda development programme, he said.

FUFC emerged as Premier League champions last season to earn promotion to the Super League this year.

Anuar, who is also the Felda Community Development deputy director-general, also promised to resolve the salary and bonus arrears owed to the officials and players from last year´s squad within the next two months.

“I only took up as FUFC president 11 days ago. We have held talks with the higher management and they have agreed to help repay the arrears in stages.

“So far, we have paid them one month´s salary, we still owe them two more months,” he told a press conference after the ceremony to introduce FUFC´s new imports at Institut Semarak here.

The media had earlier reported that former coach B. Sathianathan wanted to take the matter - unpaid salary and non-contribution of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) - to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Anuar said they would discuss the matter with FAM and the Malaysia Football League (MFL) to settle it professionally and to ensure that MFL would not cancel their annual grant.

FUFC, meanwhile, have retained their defensive pillar from Brazil, Thiago Junio De Aquino, and signed three more foreign imports - midfielders Jocinei Schad, 29, of Brazil, and Kei Ikeda, 33, of Japan as well as striker Jaycee Jhon Okwunwanne, 34, of Bahrain.

FUFC will also rely on the experience of goalkeeper Norazlan Razali and midfielders Mohamad Hadin Azman, D. Christie Jayaseelan and S. Chanturu to guide the youngsters in the team.

Head coach Mohd Nizam Jamil is confident FUFC can hold their own in the Super League despite their lack of experience.

“I believe they will put in the extra effort and give it their all because as Felda settlers, they have a sense of belonging and love for the team,” he said.