The LionsXII are dreaming of a Malaysia Cup title, which would be the first for a Singapore-based club since 1994, but fellow Malaysian Super League (MSL) side Perak and Malaysian Premier League clubs Kedah and Sarawak stand in their way.
Kedah, four-time winners of the competition, may have been drawn into Group D from the lowest-seeded pot but they boast the likes of former Malaysian internationals Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Baddrol Bakhtiaar in their ranks.
LionsXII captain Shahril Ishak knows that it won’t be a walkover for the MSL champions in their quest for the Double after they lifted the league trophy in June.
“There is no easy group in the competition and we must not be complacent, especially against the Malaysian Super League champions Sarawak," he warned.
“Perak did well in the closing stages of the league and Kedah will want to do well too. We must be mentally prepared for this if we want to achieve something from this competition.”
With less than a month to go before Malaysia’s most coveted cup competition begins, Shahril called upon his team-mates to keep their objective in mind but at the same time not to get carried away before the first hurdle is crossed.
“It is up to the players to be focussed like what we did in the league and for me, we will take each game one at a time," he asserted.
“I want the boys to concentrate and end on a high note in the group stage and then we can talk about the quarters.”
The Malaysia Cup group stages will be played from August 20 until September 21, with the quarters scheduled for September 28 and October 4.
The semi-finals will be held on October 15 and 18 while the final will take place on November 3.