KUALA LUMPUR – Kelantan head coach Mohd Azraai Khor Abdullah on Friday urged the Red Warriors players to display their best performance in the 2015 FA Cup final clash between the team and Singaporean Lions XII at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.
The 62-year-old coach was confident that the cup would remain in Malaysia as thousands of supporters, as well as Kelantan fans, would give their undivided support to the team.
“We want the FA Cup to remain in Malaysia. As the representative of the local teams, we need everybody from across the country to give their support to the Red Warriors in tomorrow’s match.”
The coach said this at a media conference after attending the 2015 FA Cup final management team meeting at the National Stadium Friday.
Meantime, he also urged his boys to forget their 2-0 win over the Lions XII in the Super League match at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Baharu, Kelantan, on Feb 15. “Lions XII is not an underdog because they have several national footballers in the squad. We have to respect and be careful with them,” said Mohd Azraai, who is eyeing his tenth personal trophy.
Prior to this, the coach had helped Kedah to score treble championships (FA Cup, Malaysia Cup and Super League Cup) in two consecutive seasons in 2006/07 and 2007/08, as well as helping Negeri Sembilan to emerge as champion for 2011 Malaysia Cup and 2012 Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup.
Sharing his view was Kelantan team manager, Azman Ibrahim, who urged the players to use the opportunity to win the FA Cup after failing to win any title last season.
“I hope we, as the local teams’ representative, can keep the FA cup in Malaysia. We know the Lions XII’s ability. Although they do not have import players, they are highly disciplined and active young players,” said Azman.
Meanwhile, Lions XII coach, Fandi Ahmad urged his boys to focus on tomorrow’s match, especially in controlling the movement of Kelantan’s strikers, led by import players Erwin Carillo and Gilmar Jose Da Silva, and their wingers, Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor.
He explained that teamwork and fast counter-attack were the core strengths of the young Singaporean team in a bid to claim their maiden victory as the FA Cup champion since its introduction in 1990.
“We are going to play hard in the final match tomorrow even though we are the underdog compared to Kelantan, which had played several battles of matches in the final stage.
“We have to be careful and fight till the last minutes of the game and hope it will not end with the decisive penalty shoot out.
“It is also hoped that the presence of our main players namely, Safuwan Baharudin, Madhu (Mohanna) and Muhammad Khairul Nizam (Mohammad Kamal) will help us to create a success story tomorrow,” said Fandi.