'Kedah is still in my heart!' - Sarawak coach Robert Alberts after his team's defeat of Kedah

The former Kedah and current Sarawak coach was happy with his new side's results but had words of encouragement for the Canaries
By Mohd Taufiq Mohd Zainon
reporting from Stadium Darul Aman, Alor Setar, Kedah

Sarawak coach Robert Alberts was feeling pleased after his sidea came out victors against Kedah here at Stadium Darul Aman.

Asked whether the tactical changes made after the break helped and if Sarawak profited from wastefulness by Kedah, he replied:

“We were not (in control) in the first-half, but we managed to find our rhythm in the second-half and our game play improved gradually.”

“In football, if you don’t take your chances you’ll be punished. Football is like that. It is good because we managed to convert our chances into goals.

“Kedah have a very good football foundation, they will bounce back as football is about bouncing from a setback.

On the performances of his players Joel Eppale and Ashri Chuchu, Alberts added:

“Joel has done well so far. He has been with us for just two games and I’m working on his finishing and his movement inside of the box now."

"Regarding Ashri, he’s a player with potential. He has pace and he’s just 21. I will continue to develop him as a player.”

Alberts, who has a status as a legend among Kedah supporters, thanks to his achievement of guiding them to the league and Malaysia Cup trophies in the early 90’s, offered several words for the fans,

“I feel happy coming back," he said.

"I spent so many years (in the early 90’s) being the coach of Kedah.

"When I arrived, the people here greeted me with warm welcome. When I walked around they still recognize me and I feel good.

"Kedah is still in my heart!”

Kedah coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan on the other hand was unhappy with his side's defensive performance, choosing to single out Azmizi Azmi for his costly error which gifted Sarawak the second goal.

“We were playing our usual game," said Wan Jamak.

"It is just the defenders that kept putting us down. He (Azmizi) is not supposed to make that kind of mistake. With all the experiences he has he shouldn’t have done that kind of mistake.

"I am not happy with his performance and this is something that needs to be addressed.”

Asked whether the loss of Safi through injury affected his team's performance, he replied:

“Of course it is. He is so influential and to miss him for the majority of the match is a blow for us."

"He may have a pulled or torn a hamstring, I don’t know. We’ll wait for the medical report. ”

Wan Jamak also bid farewell to Ghanaian striker Hamidan Mohamad, who played his last game against Sarawak tonight.

“Yes (this is his last game)," he added.

"I would like to say thank you to Hamidan for all his efforts in helping Kedah all these while.

"Maybe things are not working out the way we wanted but I wish him good luck for his future endeavours.”

When pressed on the possibility of new foreign imports to replace Hamidan, Wan Jamak said:
“I don’t know yet. We’ll see. Right now I couldn’t confirm anything.”