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Reserve teams need to start from M3, suggests Akmal Rizal

7:11 PM SGT 6/2/20
Akmal Rizal, Pulau Pinang, 05022020
Four reserve teams will be in the Premier League this season, which means that a club finishing as low as sixth can theoretically still be promoted.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter

Former Malaysia international Akmal Rizal Rakhli has suggested that Super League reserve teams, currently competing in the second tier, be made to start in the third division instead in the future.

He made the proposal when asked by Goal during the Malaysian launch of Adidas' Predator 20 Mutator boots in Shah Alam on Wednesday.

"The inclusion of reserve teams is good, but I believe that a slight change could probably be made. They need to start in the M3, because the second tier, the Premier League, needs the competitive participation of all 12 teams that can win promotion to the Super League.

"Four reserve teams will take part in the second tier this year, so if they all finish in the top four, this means that the fifth and sixth-place finishers will be promoted instead, despite the gap between them and top tier clubs. The Malaysian FA and MFL (competitions organiser Malaysian Football League) should start looking into making reserve teams start in M3, but they still can be promoted to the second tier if they are successful," proposed the former Kedah star.

In 2020 there will be four reserve teams in the second tier; Selangor and Perak's newly-established development squads joining those of JDT and Terengganu FC's.

But according to Akmal, who currently is an assistant coach at Pulau Pinang, he is adamant that the Panthers will be able to win promotion to the top tier this season.

"We are aiming for promotion to the 2021 Super League amidst the reserve teams' proliferation. They can sometimes disrupt your plans; for example, they may field Super League-level players against other teams, but against Pulau Pinang they would field their back-up players.

"And usually after a lot of matches have been played in the league campaign, they will start fielding their better players, which will become a hurdle for us. But from what I've seen, Kelantan and Kuala Lumpur are two teams that we need to pay attention to. Our preparations are going well, and I believe the team can win promotion," said the 38-year old trainer.

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