Welcome back to part 2 of the current season of The Far East Express, where last time out our famed manager Cha Bum-Kun made the jump from Indonesia to the second tier of Malaysian football with Negeri Sembilan. At the end of part 1, it was explained the reasoning of the move and some information about the new club.
Due to the Malaysian Premier League (MPL) ending in July which is very soon, this will act as the season 6 finale due to the amount of games there is to cover. Due to this, the other lads involved have agreed that DP-FM rock on with season 7 due to the shortened season 6! As a reminder, the team of creators currently stands as ourselves, OffTheBarFM, SadPanda333 & FMAdvancedPlaymaker.
Just as a reminder of our 3 rules or to anyone who is new to The Far East Express, we run it this way to keep the exciting and flowing season to season for each player.
- A trophy must be won at the current club before moving on to a new club or league.
- To keep the next player guessing, no direct updates regarding results or moves can be given outside of each players chosen way of broadcast.
- When you take over on your turn, you can do whatever you want with the squad. Buy/sell who you want, change the tactics, the staff…treat it like your personal save!
As mentioned already, we all know a bit about the new club but it was time to get to know the team, the staff and ultimately get thrown right into the thick of it all in the league, including a transfer window that shuts two match days before the end of the season!
The Club Vision
The ongoing vision is very finance driven in terms of the wage budget and selling signed players for a profit. I’m not a fan of the latter personally, no-one wants the title of a selling club like Spurs! The team are already out of the FA Cup and it’s good the board are relaxed on this season’s finishing position. Lastly, the board want to have the best youth system in Malaysia but in order to do this they’ll need to back it with some investment that’s for sure.
Now don’t get me wrong, the squad isn’t bad at all. The majority of players you see rated 3 stars above are considered to be Super League level players however, the depth in quality is very poor. It seems quite a few of the players have been promoted from the under 21s to boost the first team numbers but at the same time it doesn’t give us much credible options from the bench. From this, work in the transfer window is a must.
Also how has Idris Ariffin been loaned out with that ability at 19?! Recall imminent that’s for sure.
Although as Cha Bum-Kun settled in, the youth intake projection arrived in the inbox!
So wingers and wing backs will be good for sure in terms of next season and it sounds promising until the last comment stating it isn’t a great group of players…it’s always a lottery anyway!
It’s a new club but Cha Boom was very favourable of the 4-4-1-1 tiki taka that was made back in his time at Tiga Naga so it was time to test it with the boys at Negeri.
It’s the same instructions but some of the defence’s player roles have been amended to suit the specific player. It goes a long way at a lower level to play a player in their best positional role. This team is predicted to finish 2nd by the media and there is the quality here in the starting XI so I’m hoping it all meshes together!
The Backroom Staff
There was definitely work to be done in the backroom here, it seems as if quite a few members walked or were sacked when the old manager went. The recruitment team was very bleak too containing one scout so I had my first request to the board to see if this department could be bulked up a little.
The board have allowed a new position of a recruitment analyst and another scout, which is on top of having a chief scout as well. This is very handy as there was some work to be done for the upcoming transfer window. Cha Boom also got some new support in the coaching and medical teams also.
The standard of staff is maybe slightly better than Indonesia but not many yellow let alone green attributes popping out, although it is good to have a decent backroom for this level as it stands us amongst the best in the league as well.
Before we jump into the results, this is the league table upon Cha Boom’s arrival – it makes for a very interesting run in I’d say.
The club are fifth in what is a relatively tight league in general. There are six games left but being only 5 points behind second, there is definitely potential for a late promotion push. In Malaysian football, play offs don’t exist its the standard play each team home and away, top two get promoted and bottom two get relegated – it couldn’t be more simple!
There was only two competitive fixtures in June, what I’ve noticed there is always breaks or gaps in the season in some of the leagues around Asia. Friendlies in these gaps were booked which we’ll have a look at after the important league games.
The first match in charge was against Langkawi City who are sitting just above the relegation zone. What a start it was too with a first half blitz earning Cha Bum-Kun his first win at 3-1 in his new surroundings. Striker Zainal Azman grabbed a couple and captain Abdul Abdul Rahim scored off the left wing. Positive start!
Another home match this time against UKM, who were lower down in the table. The tiki taka system shows its starting to take shape as it brings a comfortable 2-0 victory. Right winger Shamsul Aliff Shamsul Husni (I’m going to have to shorten these names!) scored a great individual goal and striker Zainal Azman slots away perfectly from the spot. Up the Negeri Sembilan!
Great start for Cha Boom in June and it also brought him his first reward in his new surroundings.
The legend’s 100% record brings him a deserved MPL Manager of the Month Award. It wasn’t just the manager getting the plaudits, in form striker Zainal Azman picks up the MPL Player of the Month showing great success for the club in June.
As mentioned earlier, there was some friendly games to be had in June due to a 3 week gap in fixtures. These games were used to get some familiarity with the tactic.
All good in these games, all against local opposition but it seemed the team were becoming more accustomed to the tiki taka style of play.
As we leave June, due to the closeness of the table this is how it looks going into the final month of the season. It’s all to play for in the final four games that’s for sure.
The Transfer Window
This is a crazy time for a transfer window to open, the second window of the season in Malaysia opens on the 21st June and closes on 16th July. All signed players are eligible to get involved in league and cup fixtures as well so you really could sign a player on deadline day who can be an instant hero in the final two games of the season – this is the kind of madness I love!
There was quite a few incomings as some strength in the squad depth was needed as the team needed the tools to fight in the promotion race.
With having some money in the bank and a bit of space in the wage budget, the scouts got to work and bit by bit the players started coming in. It started with signing left midfielder Iqbal Zurkurnain for £3k from league rivals Kelantan. Zurkurnain will provide cover and competition on the left. Mohd Danial Haqim Deraman was signed for £5k from Super League side Felda United. This gets more quality in up front, again giving in form striker Zainal Azman some competition and support.
The rest of the transfers were defensive improvements, centre back A. Shivan Pillay came in for £12k from Premier League front runners Kuala Lumpur. The last two transfers were more for the future but will get their first team chances, Helmi Wasli cost £10.75k from Kuala Lumpur as left back cover. It was good to draw some first teamers from fellow league rivals at this stage of the season and it continued with Lai Queen Cher signing for £7.5k from Kelantan United. Cher is a young player but can play all across the back line, he has plenty of time to develop as well.
There was no immediate outgoings but a massive player was lost on a pre-contract deal in Muhd Yusri Mohamad. The playmaker is clearly one of, if not the best player at the club as he rejected a new contract to sign for Super League giants Johor DT. The deal will go through at the end of the season but its a massive loss for the team and the club as it was a pre-contract deal.
When the transfer window shut, it was clear it was a busy few weeks for some clubs like ourselves, Negeri Sembilan were not the most active but spent the most instead!
Going into the last 4 games, the team remain 5th but are only 2 points off a promotion place. In this month Cha Boom’s men play 3 of the top 4 as well which means it could go right down to the wire!
Come on then! Fantastic set of results this when it matters most too! It was a travel to face Kuaa Lumpur who occupy top spot and away came Cha Bum-Kun’s side with a thrilling 3-0 win. A fantastic start through Zainal Azman before waiting for a late flurry as SAS Husni and AA Rahim. Massive 3 points and some great nicknames!
Confidence flowing, it was time to face Kelantan United, another side chasing promotion. But that man again Zainal Azman can’t stop scoring giving Negeri the lead and SAS Husni gets amongst the goals once more in what is a massive result…
Two games to go and sitting in second which is an automatic promotion place but all of the top 4 are within a chance here. All Cha Boom can hope for is for the win run to continue and for Kuala Lumpur to mess up for an unlikely but possible title win.
We’ve held up our end of the bargain so you may realise what that means but the main question is, where did we finish? We’ll get to that but first it was time to breakdown the last two games.
The match against Kuching was tense as both teams were chasing a positive result but Cha Bum-Kun’s side held their bottle with an important 1-0 win. New winger Iqbal Zurkurnain got himself in the good books scoring the game winning goal, denting the opposition’s ambitions in the process.
The last game of the season was in Negeri Sembilan’s favour as it was against already relegated ATM – that isn’t there actual name, just an abbreviation for those wondering! An empathic 4-1 win as the boys ran riot in the second half. Zainal Azman scored from the spot, Muhd Yusri Mohamad got a farewell goal in his last game, defender Abdul Hadi Affendi scored a great header and Iqbal Zurkurnain continued to impress with another goal.
PROMOTION!!! Unfortunately it wasn’t in the shape of the title as Kuala Lumpur hold their nerve and matched everything in terms of results in the last two games. Still, to come in with 6 games to go and win them all is a great start at this club but the real test will be in the Malaysian Super League as Cha Boom’s men will take on what is considered the elite of Malaysian football.
More positive news as for a second month in a row, Cha Bum-Kun won MPL Manager of the Month and Zainal Azman swept up the Player of the Month award again.
And without further ado, this is how the league finished for the season.
End Of Season Review
Well what has been a short season for our great manager, a lot has been achieved. The Indonesian Super Cup before at Tiga Naga and now promotion in a pressured 6 games with Negeri Sembilan – 100% record with the latter as tiki taka continues to work its magic!
One player got a season award and it was Zainal Azman (you probably guessed!) who was awarded the golden boot for the 2026 MPL season.
9 goals is all it took? Bearing in mind he scored 6 of them after Cha Boom arrived! Madness, maybe I should fish for a trial. I mean I used to stick them away a good 9-10 years ago…you don’t lose it right?
As stated at the start, DP-FM will stay in control for season 7 due to the shortness of season 6. So I will be planning the Malaysian Super League adventure and looking to further improve the squad to see how far we can take it in the league and the cup.
Make sure you check out the other content creators on the links below;
OffTheBarFM – Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/offthebarfm – Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWTLmf7GIQMgraZxoanKQXg
SadPanda333 – Blog site: https://www.sadpanda333.co.uk/
FMAdvancedPlaymaker – Blog site: https://fmadvancedplaymaker.co.uk/
I hope you all enjoyed this amazing start to Malaysian football, thank you as always for reading and we’ll be back soon with part 1 of season 7!