The year 2018 was an undoubted success for PKNP FC in their maiden journey in the Super League. Promoted for the first time in their history, a very creditable 9th place finish from 12 teams meant that they kept their place in the top flight of Malaysian football for another season.
It wasn't in the league that PKNP achieved relative success as they also went on a fairy tale run in the FA Cup by reaching the semi-final stage of the competition. For the 2019 season, head coach Abu Bakar Fadzim is looking to improve on their performances and reach greater heights.
The club from Ipoh has already signed Thomas Abbey and Siyovush Asrorov to the team but is only looking to fill the balance two out of three import slot.
"Every team needs an influential striker who has the finishing touch that can decide the momentum of the team. We are still looking to fill the 2 import quote, so we are still in the process of searching with only a Tajikistan defender and a Ghanaian midfielder confirmed thus far," Abu Bakar told Goal.
"Looking at the team's budget, we are only looking to fill four of the five import quota with good quality players.
"For sure we are targeting to do better than the first year because the players now has got that experience under their belts. With what we have maybe we are looking at a top six finish but we must challenge the result we gained last year."
On top of the two imports, PKNP have also secured the signings of Hafiz Kamal and Fazrul Hazli to add to the returning Shahrel Fikri who spent half a season in Thailand with Nakhon Ratchasima.
After playing two friendly matches thus far, PKNP will be continuing their pre-season with further test matches against Singapore's Warriors FC on January 17 and fellow Super League side Felda United on January 19.
Abu Bakar praised the qualities of his two new local signings and is holding out for them to play an integral role for the team in the upcoming season.
"I expect them (Hafiz and Fazrul) to give the team a balance in terms of seniority because we have the inexperienced president cup and SUKMA players in the squad.
"After one year out, it was always going to be difficult for Hafiz to play for Perak so this is the right path for him to help us and vice versa for him to rediscover the pace and quality that he has," added Abu Bakar.
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