Penang FC chief issues challenge to his players

PENANG Football Club general manager Jeffrey Chew Gim Eam has thrown down the gauntlet to his players: win four of the last five matches in the Malaysia Super League and most of the team will be retained next season.


This challenge comes at a time when Penang FC has been struggling, with five consecutive defeats that have put them currently in 10th position out of 14 participating teams.


The Penang FC recently terminated the services of technical director Kamal Khalid and team manager Ong Eng Hua, citing the need for proactive measures following the team’s lacklustre performances and failure to reach the next stage of the Malaysia Cup.


The final straw for the Penang FC board of directors was a 3-0 loss to Police in the Malaysia Super League match on Sunday.


Penang has so far recorded five wins, four draws and 12 losses.


They also failed to qualify for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals after losing 5-0 on aggregate to KL City.


Out of the five remaining matches in the Malaysia Super League, Penang will play three away games against Kuching (Oct 28), Kelantan United (Nov 1) and Johor Darul Ta’zim (Dec 17) and two home games against Pahang (Nov 26) and Terengganu (Dec 3).


Chew has urged all his Penang FC players to treat every match from now on as a final. He is optimistic that the team can win four out of the five remaining matches in the Malaysia Super League.


Chew said his challenge for the team to win four of the last five games is achievable, considering that Kuching, Kelantan United and Terengganu are not formidable teams based on their current form.


He said they could also overcome Pahang, coached by Singapore former star Fandi Ahmad, or at least secure a draw. However, he acknowledged that facing JDT in their last match away on Dec 17 would be an uphill task.


“I’m optimistic Penang FC can do it, provided the players give their all for the state. I want them to treat every match like a final. If they succeed, most of the players will be retained next season,” Chew told Buletin Mutiara in an interview at his office in Komtar today.


For now, Penang FC said they will let head coach Chong Yee Fatt act as team manager as they search for a new technical director for next season.


Chew said Penang FC would have to look for potential investors after receiving financial support from Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) for the third year next year.


As it is now, he said with an annual allocation of RM8 million, Penang FC still has to source for additional financial support.


The introduction of the Reserve League (fully pro league) in addition to the Malaysia Super League (fully pro league), the Under-23 League and Under-20 League (both semi-pro) will incur extra expenses, he said.


Chew says it will be a crucial year for Penang FC next season to do well as they need to look for potential investors.


“We have already started looking for local players. To be ready for next year, we need more local players,” Chew stressed.


“One player on our radar is Under-23 player Alif Ikmalrizal. We are impressed with his skills and are in the process of negotiation.”


Chew highlighted that Penang FC would collaborate with the Penang Football Association to develop talents at the grassroots level.


Chew (right) has been appointed as a member of the Malaysia Football League board of directors.


On his recent appointment as a Malaysia Football League (MFL) board member, Chew said he was delighted to accept it as Penang has much to offer.


He noted Penang’s potential contributions to sports tourism and the need to improve the sports ecosystem in the country.


Story by Ammar Mikhail Aamer

Pix by Vekenesvaran Magandran