ATM gearing up for nostalgic return into Malaysian top flight

B. Sathianathan is preparing to lead the Armed Forces for the 2013 Malaysian Super League, which will be their first Malaysian top flight appearance since 1988
ATM are gearing up nicely for the dawn of a brand new Malaysian Super League (MSL) season, having already established themselves as a powerhouse last year. Under the guidance of B. Sathianathan, the Armed Forces emerged as Premier League champions, before progressing all the way into the final of the Malaysia Cup, in which they were defeated by Kelantan.

Several key players in the form of Aidil Zafuan and Zaquan Adha departed the club during the off-season, but the Forces seem determined enough to make an impact next year. The club recently embarked on a pre-season tour of Thailand, as the new signings were given the opportunity to integrate into the squad.

ATM were defeated 0-3 by the Army United on December 13, before holding Siam Navy to a 2-2 draw last Sunday. Sathianathan's men then took on Bangkok Glass, but were defeated once again, with the Thai side being 1-0 victors.

Regardless, Sathianathan is satisfied of the experience gained during the tour, claiming that it was more important for him to see the squad find their right mix and balance before the new season.

"It was quite a good experience playing against teams who fielded up to five foreign players," he told the New Straits Times.

"They actually exposed our weaknesses for us to work on. The new players all had a chance to play and they did well."

ATM have equipped themselves with the likes of Shukor Adan and R. Surendran, who are likely to play a pivotal part in 2013. The Forces will open their season with a Charity Shield match against Kelantan, before taking on LionsXII in their first top flight match since 1988.