Shazli Shamsuddin - Dunia Warriors
The 2012 Malaysia Cup kicks off with sixteen teams across the nation battling to be crowned the new champion in the oldest football tournament in Malaysia. The tournament is set to kick off on the 22nd August, and the first match day sees a classic derby match between east coast rivals Terengganu and the visiting Kelantan. Finalists in the previous year, Terengganu FA returns to start this year event without any additional players added to their squad.
Their absentees include experienced captain, Marzuki Yusoff, who currently lacks fitness due to his recent injury. Nonetheless, manager Peter Butler with have some key players in his starting eleven, including the Malaysian international Muslim Ahmad and their number one, Sharbinee Alawee Ramli.
On the attacking side, the Turtle’s top scorer in the league, Franciss, F. Doe, will pair with Manaf Mamat to disturb the Red Warrior’s defence. The partnership proved lethal during the league campaign and manager Butler will again put his full trust in them to fire the team out of their group. Despite not being able to add any players into the squad, Butler, ever the optimist, still reckoned that Terengganu FA will sail through the Malaysia Cup with success.
For the visiting team, Kelantan FA will start without their sensational striker, Mohd Ghaddar, who has been banned one match for discipline problems. He is expected to be ably replaced by new striker Afiq Azmi who has already demonstrated his capability to play in the team. Playing in front of captain marvel Badhri Radzi, and Indraputra Mahyudin, he demonstrated his lethal instincts by scoring three goals in their friendly match versus Pattani FC last week.
The Red Warriors coach, Bojan Hodak commented on the local football news TRW Buletin, that he is not ready to play Ghaddar in the opening match against Terengganu. He also added that many of the national players who have just returned from Austria with K. Rajagobal squad would probably not feature in the entire first Malaysia Cup match.
The battle for to see who is crowned the king of the east coast football will be interesting to watch. Terengganu will be keen to take revenge on Kelantan after they were knocked out by the Red Warriors in the AFC Cup.