Kelantan, the Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions, had their dreams of winning the Malaysia Cup to complete their domestic treble made much more difficult after being drawn in the so-called ‘Group of Death’ yesterday.
Kelantan, who won the MSL in a convincing fashion, were drawn in Group B together with their east coast rivals Terengganu, former winners Kedah and Malaysian Premier League (MPL) champions ATM.
In Peter Butler (Terengganu) and B.Sathianathan (ATM), Kelantan will have two of their former coaches coming up against them, and they are both bound to have some inside knowledge of ‘The Red Warriors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Singapore’s Lions XII will be making their return to Asia’s oldest running football competition after 18 years in Group A alongside arch-rivals Johor, PKNS FC and Johor FC.
Group C will see last year’s winners Negeri Sembilan pitting their wits against Perak and two club sides, Sime Darby FC and Felda United; while record winners Selangor will have T-Team, Sarawak and Pahang standing in their way to a 33rd title.
All teams will play each other home-and-away in a round-robin format and the top two will then progress to the knock-out stages.
During the draw, competitions committee chairman Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin also took the opportunity to announce a format change from next year’s edition onwards, where all 24 teams from both divisions will be competing instead of the current 16.
The competition is scheduled to kick-off on August 22nd, right after the celebrations of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Group A - Lions XII, PKNS FC, Johor FC, Johor
Group B - Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, ATM
Group C - Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Felda United, Sime Darby FC
Group D - Selangor, T-Team, Sarawak, Pahang