If you’re a football enthusiast, you’re well aware of the highly competitive Malaysia Super League. But do you know how and when this league came into being? How about the top teams and players that pioneered the league?
Today, we answer all these burning questions plus any other detail about the league that you should know. Keep reading, and you’ll find out!
How Did the League Start?
Best known as Liga Supa, the Malaysian League officially came into being in 2004 when the Football Association of Malaysia decided to privatize it.
Since then, the league has undergone several revamps that have seen it accommodate 12 teams, an increase from the original 8. These realignments were inspired by the constant change in league rules and due to some teams withdrawing from the top tier competition.
Top Teams and Top Players Who Participated in the Super League
Being a competitive league in Asia, the MSL produces some spectacular football displays every season. Let’s take a look at some of the teams and players who have delivered stellar performances.
Pahang was the first team to win the league after its revamp in 2004. Not only did they bag the trophy, but they also scored the most goals. The legendary striker, Indra Putra Mahayuddin, was the leading goalscorer with 15 league goals.
Afterward, the trophy turned to a sweet piece of snack that every team couldn’t get enough of. Perlis won the following year but couldn’t defend their title in the 2005/06 season. They instead extended the honors to Negeri Sembilan.
Kedar, Selangor, and Kelantan then won the super league for two seasons each between 2006 and 2012. Lions XII then clinched the title in 2013 and passed it to Johor Darul Ta’zim, which has retained the trophy until now.
Over this period, the most goals scored in a single season were 23, and Marlon Alex James of Kedah scored them in the 2007/08 season. Mohammed Gaddar of Johor Darul Ta’zim repeated the same feat in 2017.
The Format of Eliminations up to the Finals
As alluded earlier, the super league consists of 12 teams. The bottom two teams usually get relegated, thus creating room for the promotion of the top two teams in the premier league.
The winners of the MSL get an automatic qualification to the AFC Champions League Group Stage. As for the FA cup winners, they get a slot in the following AFC competition’s playoffs. And in case they lose the playoffs, their chances for proceeding to the group stages dwindle, but all’s not lost; they’ll play the AFC Cup playoffs.
When Does the Season Start and End?
Given normal conditions, the MSL season commences in February and ends around July.
Every team plays against each other twice, once at home, and once at the away stadium. There are 22 rounds of matches, making total games playable in a single season to be 132.
Why is MSL So Popular in Malaysia?
Sports in Malaysia is a remarkably influential culture. It has grown in popularity, especially since the privatization of the league in 2004.
Malaysian football also enjoys limitless sponsorship from big companies like Telekom Malaysia, which inject cash to the tune of RM60 million annually. This financial security motivates players and coaches to perform better, and the reward is fans filling the stadiums.