Ahead of the FA Cup final this Saturday, Kelantan boss Bojan Hodak believes that his side is ready to take on Johor Darul Takzim at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil
We are just four days away from the dream FA Cup final where Kelantan will defend their title against a tough outfit in Johor Darul Takzim at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Both sides have done well to record stunning victories in the semi-finals and are within reach of a piece of silverware this season. Despite the fact that they won the treble last season, Bojan Hodak's forces march into the finals as underdogs.
Hodak, however, has decided to take this positively and still believes that Kelantan are the better side. In an exclusive interview with Goal, the Croatian confidently stated that he has the perfect formula to tear down the Southern Tigers.
“We didn’t win both matches against them before, but we were unlucky. During the last meeting with them, we didn’t play with our full squad, yet we were still able to contain them well. We managed to create more chances than them but JDT used their chances well,” Hodak declared.
“On paper, they have a very good squad with players like Leonel Nunez, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and many more stars. But when we take it to the pitch, 11 versus 11, my players will forget about everything and give 200 per cent. The better team will lift the cup.”
Johor Darul Takzim spent big earlier this season to garner the signatures of three top players in Malaysia; Norshahrul, Nurul Azwan Roya and the 2010 MSL top scorer, Safee Sali. The Argentinean Nunez was also brought in to further strenghthen the squad. The big expenditure reaped it rewards as the Southern Tigers have made it into the FA Cup final and are still in the running to take the league title. However, Hodak, 42, is still not convinced of the Argentinean's abilities.
The 42-year-old said: “Nunez is a good player, but I don’t think he’s that great. The only thing we need to be aware of is his quality to finish. He’s good at making the curling shots. His right foot is very good but we will find somebody in the squad to hold him off throughout the match.”
“Among all of the players, I think the one we should be more concerned about is is Nurul Azwan and the Brazillian, Andrezinho. 'Awe' is good with the ball - he's always troubling defenders with his quick feet. As for Andre, he’s quick at building an attack from the back and that is dangerous for us.”
With the final just around the corner and with the onset of the haze in Malaysia, Hodak still thinks that his team is in good shape to handle the harsh conditions.
“We’re in good shape. We played well against Terengganu before this. I know how it feels to be playing in this condition - with sore throats and difficulty in breathing - but when they’re on the pitch, my players will handle it well.”
“We had the upper hand when playing in the final for four years in a row and I believe the players are ready. We had great support when we crushed our nemesis, Terengganu.”
When asked who would be the standout players in the final, Hodak revealed: “I think Indra will show his magic once again. He always scores whenever we need a goal. Other than that, if they got Nunez, we got Dickson Nwakeame. JDT will have to find ways to hold off Nwakeame especially without Aidil Zafuan.”
The Red Warriors' boss concluded the interview saying that it will surely be a cracking game at the National Stadium and will be looking forward to a fantastic turnout from the fans.
“To be honest, whenever we play, Kelantan fans have been fantastic. For the players, I know they will give 100 per cent when they play in front of thousands of their supporters,” Hodak conceded.