The draw of Johor FA in Group A with LionsXII also means a face-off between two of Singapore’s footballing legends, Fandi Ahmad, who is the coach of Johor FA, and Sundram. The other side in Group A is Selangor-based club PKNS FC.
“Having drawn two Johor sides means I am able to consider my players who are in National Service as the travelling time is much shorter compared to teams in other states, making it easier for them to travel as well," said the LionsXII coach.
"This is what I had hoped for before the draw and I’m pleased we got what we wanted.”
LionsXII skipper Shahril Ishak, agreed with his coach’s assessment: “I think it is a good draw as it means that it is now easier for our boys from National Service to travel with the team. Having said that, we are fully aware of the challenges ahead as we have lost to both Johor FC and PKNS FC in the MSL. We will have to play our best game against such strong teams to advance.”
In other groups, Group B looks set to be the Group of Death for this year’s Malaysia Cup as it will feature Malaysian Super League (MSL) shampions Kelantan, traditional Malaysia Cup giants Terengganu and Kedah, as well as big spending Malaysia Premier League (MPL) side ATM FC.
Malaysia Cup defending champions Negri Sembilan will be in Group C together with MSL third runners-up Perak and two club sides from Kuala Lumpur – Felda United from MSL and Sime Darby FC from MPL.
Selangor, the most successful side in Malaysia Cup history, is in Group D together with former Malaysia Cup winners Pahang and MSL sides Sarawak and T-Team.