Southeast Asia Malaysia

Perlis United to join the Liga Super?

The 2024/25 Liga Super Malaysia is set to still be contested by 14 teams after Liga M3 side Perlis United have received an extraordinary license to play in the top-flight, replacing the expelled Kelantan FC.

Following the failure of Norizam Tukiman and his Kelantan side of assuring that they are financially capable of participating in next season’s Liga Super, the Malaysia Football League (MFL) has decided to expel the Red Warriors from the top-flight, leaving a vacant spot in the 14-team Liga Super.

To fill that spot, the MFL have opened an opportunity for sides in the Liga M3 interested in participating in the Liga Super to prove their readiness and capability of taking part in the top-flight next season, with the side that satisfies the MFL’s requirements being granted an extraordinary Liga Super license.

Out of the 12 sides in the Liga M3, four sent their applications – last season’s champions Immigration FC, runners-up Kuala Lumpur Rovers, bronze medalists Harini FT – an ambitious side boasting numerous Liga Super veterans such as Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Khyril Muhymeen, S. Chanthuru, and Hafizul Hakim – and Perlis United, who finished 8th last season.

However, thanks to their better documentation and a fresh financial injection of 5 million Ringgit from one of their sponsors – as well as the full support of their local government, it was Perlis United who received the nod to enter next season’s Liga Super at the expense of last season’s top three sides.

Perlis United’s promotion meant that for the first time since 2011, Malaysia’s smallest and northernmost state will be represented in the top-flight.

Previously known as KSK Tambun Tulang, Perlis United spent most of their existence underneath the shadows of the more-established Perlis FA, who won the 2005 edition of the Liga Super as well as having two Malaysia Cups underneath their belt.

It was not until the fraudulent investment of the late Datuk Ahmad Amizal Shaifit Ahmad Rafie in late 2018 that Perlis FA, at that time rebranded as Perlis Northern Lions FC, collapsed into pieces, which saw star players such as Khyril and Safee Sali going unpaid and the club being expelled from the Liga Premier Malaysia only a few matches into the 2019 campaign. The Northern Lions, who were yo-yoing up and down the second and third tiers of Malaysian football at that time, were banned from playing by FIFA due to their outstanding arrears to their players, staffs, and coaches – almost a similar scenario to what’s going on with Kelantan right now.

The demise of Perlis FA gave way for Perlis United to step into the spotlight, assuming the title of the state’s premier football team. The Rising Star posted mid-table finishes before their Liga Super application was approved, which was a welcome news for Perlis football fans who has been deprived of top-flight football for 13 years.

Whilst lacking any household names, Perlis United does have Zafuan Azeman to call upon, who had experience playing overseas with Thai League sides Angthong FC and Uthai Thani FC, while former FELDA United man Sadam Hashim has proven himself to be a capable scorer in the Liga M3.