Malaysian football show turns into a club reality

Continuing from the popular Malaysian MyTeam TV Reality Show, the UPB-MyTeam FC will debut in the country's second-level Premier League on 22 December. "We are no Chelsea, we rather be like a low-cost carrier," team manager Khairy Jamaluddin told Jugjet Singh of the New Straits Times after introducing his players. Ten players have been retained from the TV show squad, while two foreigners, Croatians Mijo Dadic and Marin Mikac, the national skipper, Khaironissam Shahbuddin and ex-internationals Mohamed Harris Safwan Kamal, Mohamed Faizal Abdul Rashid and Yosri Dermarajoo were added to give the team stability. The team will be coached by Bojan Hodak, from Croatia, and assisted by Khan Hung Meng and Abdul Rashid Hassan.

Being ‘homeless’, the MyTeam management has opted for Malacca to be their base but plans are afoot re-open Stadium Merdeka’s rusty gates and bring back football to the landmark stadium which not only played host to Malaysia’s best but also the best from Asia and some world class club teams. Their club crest, which bears some similarity to that of Liverpool FC, has ‘Est 2006’ engraved on it and Khairy emphasised that they are no fly-by-night operation.

"The reason we merged with UPB (United Plantations of Jenderata Estate in Perak) is because we have similar goals. UPB has been working to develop the grassroots, and MyTeam also works along the same line. I would like to stress here that we are not in it for instant success, pumping in money and buying all the top players available. We would like to move up slowly, as this is a long-term investment. We are coming in just as clubs are deserting the sport, we are swimming against the current because we want to help revitalise local football," said Khairy.