Ndumba Makeche back in Malaysia as Perlis skipper after Bali nightmare
Former Sarawak and Felda United striker Ndumba Makeche says he's grateful to be rebuilding his career with Malaysian strugglers Perlis after a dream move to Indonesia turned into a nightmare.
The 25-year-old speedster was looking forward to establishing himself in Indonesia's newly launched Liga 1 after signing on at Bali United at the start of 2017.
But before he could get a chance to prove himself, Bali United changed coaches with Indra Sjafri making way for Hans-Peter Schaller, and the Zambian-born Australian found himself in the cold.
"Because I left Bali so quickly, rumours were going around that I was injured, so some Malaysia Super League teams weren't interested in signing me. But I wasn't injured," Ndumba told ESPN FC.
"So this move to Perlis was good for me to get back my confidence. I've been welcomed very well. The team are getting to know each other quickly because we have little time, with the first game after the break on June 30."
SELAMAT DATANG NDUMBA MAKECHE @makeche92 KE KELUARGA NORTHERN LIONS! PERSATUAN BOLASEPAK PERLIS ingin mengucapkan selamat datang kepada pemain import baru,NDUMBA MAKECHE.Pemain yang berasal dari Zambia/Australia ini bermain di posisi Striker. Diharapkan dapat memberi saingan yang lebih sengit lagi untuk kekal di liga premier tahun hadapan. Ayuh semangatku!! Demi kuning biru!! Sama sama kita bangkit kembali!! Kembalikan kegemilangan kita yang sentiasa memberi tentangan sengit kepada pihak lawan!! #demikuningbiru #northernlions #perlisfa #yellowblue #gpg #ghempohperlisghempoh
Ndumba has been appointed captain of a Perlis side who find themselves second from bottom on the Malaysia Premier League table. Their first match after the international break is away to top-of-the-table Negeri Sembilan.
He joined a side who are managed by Syamsul Saad, the elder brother of Ndumba's former Felda United teammate Shahrizal Saad.
Ndumba's first taste of senior football was under current Johor Darul Ta'zim sports director Alistair Edwards at Perth Glory in 2012. He says he's still scratching his head after his quick exit from Bali, where he'd holidayed during his days in Australia.
Austrian boss Schaller, who jettisoned Ndumba immediately after taking over in February, found himself sacked within two months.
"I think that's the worst coach I've ever had," Ndumba said. "He got what he deserved because he never gave me a chance. I played one full 90-minute friendly game, and then in the second friendly game, he took me out at half- time because he wanted to send a message that he didn't fancy me."
Ndumba scored 26 Malaysia Super League goals in 56 matches with Felda United and Sarawak between 2015-16.
Jason Dasey is ESPN FC Senior Editor in Singapore. Formerly Asian editor of FourFourTwo, he was also a CNN and BBC broadcaster. Twitter: @JasonDasey.