The usual suspects like Terengganu FC, Selangor and Felda United are through to the third round of the 2019 Malaysia FA Cup but amongst the names is also the unknown Jerantut FA. They together with Ultimate FC and Protap FC were involved in the second round action yesterday highlighting Malaysian Football League's (MFL) desire to get these amateur teams participating.
MFL first opened the FA Cup to amateur teams in 2018 and just a year later has seen some measure of success with their plans. Jerantut beat Johor Bahru FA 2-1 at Tun Abdul Razak Stadium to be the first amateur team to reach the third round of the competition that holds a spot to the AFC Champions League play-off stage.
Luck weren't with Ultimate and Protap who lost their respective matches against Terengganu and UKM FC, 5-0 and 5-1 respectively. They however more than held their own for large parts of the match before the bigger teams' quality came through in the final part of the match. Performances that left Kevin Ramalingam the Chief Executive Officer of MFL delighted.
"I was very excited for them. In fact Ultimate was still in the game for a long time against Terengganu and the same with Protap, despite both eventually losing by big margins. These teams put up a good show and tried their best. It is a dream that we tried to open up to the everyday football fan to be ale to dream to be part of something big. Imagine the boys at PIB today walking out at 9pm at Darul Makmur Stadium, that’s a dream come true.
"Maybe one or two of them might still make it to the big league but for most, this is their final. We want to give that hopes and dreams to everyone because football is for everyone. Even the most elite competition in the country must find a way to include everyone.
"The FA Cup is more open now but eventually we hope that the competition can be open to thousands of teams. We don’t have the resources to that right now nor the facilities to accommodate thousands of qualifying games," said Ramalingam during a press conference on Wednesday morning.
The other results saw Selangor ousting Kelantan 0-3 and Kuching FA losing 0-1 to Felda. The match between PDRM and Sarawak had to be postponed due to poor weather. One last amateur team in PIB FC will be in action on Wednesday in a match against Pahang.
Ramalingam was speaking to the press after handing out MFL's first media awards for the month of February that celebrates the best reporting done on all MFL related competitions. Goal was the winner for the Best Online Media category, TV3 picked up the Best Electronic Media while Berita Harian secured both the Best Print Media and Best Photography categories.
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