Klang Valley Derby return, tiers 4 and 5 inception excite Maniam
Selangor head coach Maniam Pachaiappan is eager to have his side kick off their 2018 season against fellow Klang Valley side Kuala Lumpur (KL).
Matches between the two sides, dubbed the Klang Valley Derby, were hotly-contested fixtures back in the 1980’s and 90’s, when Maniam were still playing for the Red Giants. Back then, the two sides, who represent two neighbouring Malaysian states, were on equal footing in terms of stature and prowess, but the City Boys’ fortunes had declined in the past decade and they at one point were even relegated to the third tier.
However, in recent years KL have experienced a resurgence, and with a closer supervision by and a larger funding from the Ministry of Federal Territories, as well as the guidance of Brazilian head coach Fábio Magrão, KL were able to win promotion to the Super League as Premier League champions, at the end of the 2017 season.
The 2018 league fixtures released by M-League organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) recently will have Selangor playing away to KL on matchday one, on February 4, at the KLFA Stadium, Cheras.
“Previously it was a big game everytime Selangor play KL, you know? Now it’s going to be interesting playing them again after some time. Selangor would normally win back then, but now KL are a better side (than previously), better organised and they have good foreign players.
“It will not be easy playing them. We must concentrate on it and not think about our off-the-pitch woes. We have to prepare well,” remarked the 49-year old trainer when met by Goal on Tuesday.
When asked for his thoughts on FMLLP’s plan to kick off the fourth and fifth tier football beginning the 2018 season, the former Malaysia international applauded the plan.
The 10-year plan was announced earlier during the day, and would involve 16 amateur leagues across the country.
“That’s a very good plan. Excellent. Now we can get more young footballers playing, and more players in general.
“This will improve our development and pool of players,” he remarked.
Author: ZULHILMI ZAINAL