# Management hands coach Irfan Bakti a KPI – to win at least one trophy
# The Fighters to compete in Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh
# Felda United strengthen team with two new foreign signings
# ‘It is tough but nothing is impossible’ – Irfan Bakti
Super League outfit Felda United finished empty handed last season despite some high achievements along the way.
And on Wednesday, “The Fighters” as the plantation giants are known in the M-League, were handed a tough KPI (Key Perfromance Indicator, which evaluates the success of a team) – to win at least one trophy in 2016.
Irfan, who is into his third season with Felda United, gladly accepted the challenge although he said the M-League is “getting tougher” as the tussle for honours heats up.
“Every other team has increased their budget to sign up the best players to win. This means the M-League is getting tougher. It will be tough for us but in football nothing is impossible,” said Irfan.
Felda also revealed their two new signings for the 2016 season to replace Australian Ndumba Makeche (striker) and Serbian Bojan Milandinovic (defender). The new names are Uzbekistan midfielder Lutfulla Turaev and Brazilian hitman Gilberto Carlos Marangino.
The two complete Felda’s foreign quota – joining Brazilian striker Thiago Augusto and Liberian midfielder Zah Rahan Krangar who have been retained.
On the local front The Fighters also dropped veteran Malaysian international Indra Putra Mahayuddin who has since moved to Kelantan.
Felda have signed up new locals – Sarawak-born Bobby Gonzales, who played for Perak last season, Shukur Jusoh and Norfazly Alias (both of whom played for Armed Forces) and S. Sivanesan from Premier League’s Negri Sembilan.
Thus Felda United embark on another journey in the M-League – a long and tough journey against the likes of reigning Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) and Malaysia Cup champions Selangor.
There are also newly promoted Kedah and Penang, who finished first and second in the Premier League.
The FA Cup was won by Lions XII – with the Singapore outfit becoming the first ever team from outside Malaysia to win the silverware.
Last season Felda finished fifth in the 12-team Super League and reached the Malaysia Cup semi-finals before getting knocked out by Kedah. Felda had earlier thrown out favourites JDT in the quarter-finals.
In the FA Cup competition Felda were surprise first round casualties after finishing runners-up to Pahang in 2014.
For starters Irfan will have an inkling of what is in store for him and his Fighters when they were picked by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to compete in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh from Jan 8-20.
A perfect testing ground for Irfan to try out his players and match strategies. Felda are drawn in Group A with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal while Group B is made up of Bahrain, Maldives, Cambodia and the Bangladesh Olympic team.