BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
With the 2017 Malaysia Cup scheduled to run concurrently with the remaining rounds of the Super League and the Premier League, clubs that have qualified for for both competitions are expected to face a tough time after the mid-season break.
But Selangor head coach Maniam Pachaiappan are not too concerned about the possible fixture congestion and the ensuing player fatigue in his squad.
When met by Goal earlier this week, he told us that the key is in squad rotation.
"Around that time, we will be playing a lot of games in July. So the key to win matches are loading and how to rotate the players," Maniam said.
Although he admitted that squad depth is an issue for him, he added that he is prepared to solve the situation by fielding the Red Giants' President's Cup youth players if the situation calls.
"Of course it (squad depth) is not enough, but we have the President's Cup boys.
"They have the quality, and now we can give them the chance to show that they are capable," he explained.
When asked for his take on Selangor's group in the competition; Group D, alongside JDT, Sarawak and Terengganu, Maniam said that it will be a tough group.
"It's a tough group as well (as compared to other groups).
"It will not be easy, even though Sarawak are in the relegation zone. They are a good team, they have good players,
"And of course JDT are one of the favourites, they have quality players.
"Terengganu too have good men and are doing well in the Premier League, and (recently) made it as far as the semi-finals in the FA Cup.
"We have to take the competition game-by-game," he pointed out.
With many of the Red Giants' key players leaving the club in the pre-season, Maniam made the audacious call of promoting five of their youth players to the senior team.
As a result, Malaysia U22 internationals Syahmi Safari and Kannan Kalaiselvam have now grown into regular starters for Selangor.
The Red Giants lifted their historic 33rd Malaysia Cup title in the 2015 edition, before going on to make another appearance in the final, in the 2016 edition.