In football, success on and off the pitch does not simply come down to talent and tactics, but requires years of meticulous planning. With this in mind, Goal presents a statistical and structural evaluation of the top clubs in the South-east Asian region along with a verdict on why these teams are heads and shoulders above the rest.
In this edition, we take a look at one of the most prestigious clubs in Malaysia, Selangor.
The history of Malaysia's most succesful domestic outfit; Selangor is inseparable from the history of Malaysian football itself. The team, also known as the Red Giants, have long been considered the backbone of Malaysian football.
Like most teams in Malaysia, Selangor is not a privately-owned club. Rather, it is a football team under the supervision of the Football Association of Selangor (FAS), which is itself a sports and recreation branch of the state government of the state of Selangor.
Although the inception of FAS began in 1926, it was not until 22 February 1936 that FAS was officially founded, after internals schism and disputes among its members and rivalling local associations were put to rest. The World War II delayed the association's effort in developing football in the state, and it was only after the war was over that efforts were revived; the most prominent of which was the appointment of the country's first Prime Minister; Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj as the association's president. He gazetted the stadium in which the country's independence was declared by him; Stadium Merdeka as Selangor's homeground, and Selangor played there until they moved to the Shah Alam Stadium in 1994.
Their trophy cabinet attests to their success on the pitch. They have won the Malaysia Cup, the country's most prestigious domestic competition, 32 times and the modern reiterations of the country's top-flight league seven times. They have also played in the topmost league in the country for most of their history. They were the runners-up in the inaugural edition of the Asian Club Championship, the predecessor of the current AFC Champions League back in 1967.
Selangor have always featured the country's top players, Malaysia international players and a number of foreign talents. The legendary Malaysian striker, the late Mokhtar Dahari spent most of his domestic career in Selangor; winning them 11 Malaysia Cups. During their heyday in the mid-90's, they roped in the foreign talents of former Arsenal star Christopher Kiwomya, Australian international David Mitchell and West Ham striker Tony Cottee. The Malaysia squad that won the country's first competitive trophy in over a decade in the 2010 AFF Cup comprised mostly Selangor players at that time such as Safiq Rahim, Safee Sali, Amirulhadi Zainal, Asraruddin Putra, Amri Yahyah, and Razman Roslan.
Although FAS have been more modest in their approaches and spending in recent years, Selangor are still one of the top teams in the country. In the 2013 season, they have never dropped below the top-four positions, reached the quarter-final of the Malaysia FA Cup, and have just qualified for the second round of the AFC Cup. They ultimately still have the potential, if not the necessary results to win silverwares.
|SHAH ALAM STADIUM
||Selangor have called the multi-purpose Shah Alam Stadium home since its opening on 16 July 1994. The stadium is able to seat 80,000 fans, and is equipped with an electronic scoreboard and a gym. Although the stadium has also been criticised for its distance from the middle-class population; the core of the Selangor supporters who come mostly from outside of the Shah Alam city, which in turn contributes to dismal match attendance. It is also the Malaysia national football team's second home after Bukit Jalil, and has hosted several AFF Cup matches, the Pestabola Merdeka, and friendlies with EPL teams.|
The Football Association of Selangor (FAS) enters an Under-21 team in the youth competition President's Cup which are held concurrently with each MSL season. They are currently seventh in the 18-team league.
Much like most top-flight teams in the country, they do not have a dedicated academy of their own, preferring instead to work together with the local schools to develop players who play for these schools in district, state and national competitions. Only after they graduate from school at the age of 17 that they undergo a proper selection to train together with and play for the President's Cup squad.
In addition to this, the state also has a dedicated sports school; the Seksyen 11 Project School in Shah Alam whose students focus more on their involvement in sports, including football. Finally, at the end of each year, FAS will hold a tour of all the state's nine districts to scout for any potential youth talents below the age of 16 that have been missed by the above-mentioned system.
The Selangor youth system has produced several national players such as 2010 AFF Cup winners Safiq Rahim and Amirul Hadi Zainal, former national team squad member Abdul Hadi Yahya, and current Selangor skipper, Amri Yahyah.
The future looks bright for Selangor. Just a few days ago on the 8th of June, their youth under-12 and under-19 squads captured the championships for their respective age categories in a national tournament. All that is left to do by FAS is continue developing and nurturing these sets of players until they are eligible for the senior-team.
|Amri Yahyah||Mahali Jasuli||Norazlan Razali|
|Ever since making his debut for Selangor as a 19-year-old and scoring the winning goal in the 2002 Malaysia Cup final, Selangor's golden boy has never looked back as one of the key-players of the team. He has scored over 100 goals for his team, and helped the Red Giants notched the treble in 2005. The Tanjung Karang-born player, already a living legend to the fans, looks set to be one of those rare players who begin and end their careers at the same team.||The Selayang-born 23-year-old has been a Selangor fan since he was a school boy, and when his service for the under-23 national team had ended, he was reportedly dead set on playing for his home state team. He is one of the best defenders in the South East Asian region, although he is at his most lethal when boldly attacking with his electrifying pace up the flank. His modern approach to playing as a wing back means that even the most loyal Selangor fans want him to leave at the end of the season, to pursue more challenges in Europe, and flourish.||One of Selangor's main problems is their inability to score in a number of matches. But they have to be thankful that despite sometimes misfiring, they have a safe pair of hands in 28-year-old Norazlan. He kept the opponents out on numerous occasions, and his cat-like reflexes and cool nerves mean that his team have only conceded six goals in the league (second best in the league) and have only lost twice (best in the league). Selangor will do well to keep him in Shah Alam after the season ends.|
|DATUK HAMIDIN AMIN - SECRETARY GENERAL
|Hamidin has served as the Secretary-General for over 15 years, after rising rapidly through the association's ranks from a young age.
It must be noted that Hamidin is also one of the current Vice-Presidents of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). This is one of the criticism points that Selangor supporters have against him, that he is not performing as well as he should in both capacities as his attention is constantly divided, as the neglect of several aspects of the team, such as marketing and youth development, might suggest.
Criticisms aside, Hamidin is again expected to receive another promotion, this time as the Secretary-General of FAM. Although no concrete news have been released thus far, FAS has already stated that they are willing to release him should the appointment take place.
|IRFAN BAKTI - HEAD COACH
|Since 2012, Selangor have been under the leadership of Irfan Bakti, one of the most experienced coaches in Malaysia. A former player himself in the 1970's and 1980's, he had coached Negeri Sembilan, Pulau Pinang, and also has had a stint in Indonesia coaching Persipura|
Despite being the most succesful domestic team in Malaysia, in recent years Selangor have been unseated at the throne by more ambitious teams that have risen to meet the challenges of modern-day football. Much of the Red Giants' failure to capture any silverware is attributed to the FA's refusal to take the necessary steps to modernise the running of the team, such as paying attention to the youth players, and allocating funds for marketing, despite the state of Selangor being the most-populated state in Malaysia, and also one of the most prosperous.
They are equally as wasteful on the pitch this season, dropping points in multiple draws in the league, and exiting their FA Cup campaign at the quarter-final stage.
But, they are definitely not without quality; despite obtaining only one point in the first half of their AFC Cup group stage, they then clawed themselves up by obtaining seven more in the second half to qualify to the second round, before eventually being knocked out at that stage.
Despite not winning as many league matches as they should, they have managed to keep the damage to a minimum; they have only lost twice in the league so far. In comparison, when the other teams in Malaysia perform badly, it always ends up in them getting involved in the fight to avoid relegation, whereas a lacklustre season for the Red Giants usually only results in them finishing second runners-up or fourth. But as the saying goes, only the champions will be remembered.