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Challenge Cup

Challenge Cup plays important role in Malaysian football, insist JDT II, UKM

11:26 EAT 16/10/2019
Malaysian Challenge Cup trophy, 17012019
The recently-concluded Challenge Cup needs to continue in the coming years, says its recent finalist and winner.


BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


The recently-concluded Challenge Cup needs to continue in the coming years, says its recent finalist and winner.

Last weekend, JDT II became the competition's second winner, after defeating UKM FC 6-5 on penalties, after both legs ended tied at 1-1 on agreggate. It was the reserve team's first ever trophy, whereas for the university club, it was their second consecutive appearance in the final.

Despite the heartbreak, UKM assistant head coach Juzaili Samion insisted that the Challenge Cup, the post-season tournament for Malaysian clubs in the top two tiers that do not qualify for the more-prestigious Malaysia Cup, has its place in the Malaysian football calendar.

"While some may regard the competition as a less glamorous tournament, we must take any competition we compete in seriously. For us at UKM, I always tell the boys to use it as a platform to market themselves to other clubs.

"It also provides more playing minutes to the players because the duration between the league's end and the start of the next is too long," explained the former Malaysia international.

JDT II boss Ervin Boban echoed Juzaili's sentiment, stressing the need for second tier players in Malaysia to play in more matches.

"The Challenge Cup is an interesting competition, and without it the players will be training aimlessly without any motivation. Training without getting competitive games is similar to school teams, when we are a professional team. It's in the tournament that I get to field youngsters who lack league experience.

"Furthermore, the number of group stage games played by each team is limited, between four and six, which forces the teams to play well in every match, which is different from the league competition," said the former Johor player.

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