Tonight's campaign opener between The Southern Tigers and the Red Warriors will most likely be decided by the home side's head coach,who is also the visitors' former coach
BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Goal's feature match for the 2014 Malaysia Cup opener tonight could not feature two more contrasting teams. Recent MSL champions JDT will take on 2012 Malaysia Cup champions Kelantan at Larkin, and even hours from the kick off, things already look clear cut.The Southern Tigers will definitely be going into tonight's match buoyed by their recent MSL win, which was achieved from a much lower position at the start of the league.
This win was mainly due to the mid-season signing of head coach Bojan Hodak who last year coached Kelantan. And it can be argued that this fact will favour the home side, as Hodak surely knows the weaknesses and strengths of his former charges, whom he led to five silverware in the span of just two years.
Thirdly, Kelantan have never been the same since Hodak's departure. They finished a paltry sixth in the 2014 MSL (missing out on the 2015 AFC Cup), exited the 2014 AFC Cup at the group stage and failed to
defend the FA Cup. This has been compounded by several misfortunes such as their failure to sign a new coach that has the same calibre as Hodak and the signing of unreliable former World Cup player Prince
Tagoe. Unlike Hodak's new charges, they are not playing well, and their morale has been severely dented.
Although JDT are not without their own troubles such as Jorge Diaz, Luciano Figueroa and Amri Yahyah's absence for tonight's match, it must be noted that Hodak's has built himself the reputation as a coach
who can get his boys to win the match, no matter how improbable the odds. This is how he had won the five cups with Kelantan, and then the from-the-back league win with JDT.
JDT are likely to win tonight's match, to set themselves on the right course in their 2014 Malaysia Cup campaign.