Award spurs Cas­tan­heira to help Ne­gri

New Straits Times - - Sport -

NE­GRI Sem­bi­lan’s Bruno Cas­tan­heira has emerged as the most feared striker in the Pre­mier League.

The Brazil­ian, who holds a Japanese pass­port, has con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly to Ne­gri’s ex­plo­sive start in the Pre­mier League and now, the striker wants to help his side make an im­pres­sion in the FA Cup.

Ne­gri will travel to Kota Kinabalu on Satur­day to face Sabah in the first leg quar­ter-fi­nals of the FA Cup. The re­turn leg is on April 15.

The Pre­mier League lead­ers are ex­pected to beat Sabah to make the semi-fi­nals for the first time in the com­pe­ti­tion since be­com­ing cham­pi­ons in 2010.

Cas­tan­heira has net­ted eight goals this sea­son and Ne­gri will be de­pend­ing on him along with English-born Lee Tuck and Croa­t­ian Marko Simic against Sabah.

The 27-year-old re­ceived a huge boost ahead of the match when he was named Pro­fes­sional Foot­ballers As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia’s (PFAM) best for­eign player for the month of Fe­bru­ary.

The award was handed by PFAM pres­i­dent Hairud­din Omar to Can­tan­heira in Paroi yes­ter­day.

Can­tan­heira warned Sabah that the award has given him the added boost and that he will be look­ing for goals on Satur­day.

“It is a huge hon­our to earn this award… it is a huge mo­ti­va­tion. I, how­ever, must not for­get my man­age­ment, coaches and my team­mates. Their un­di­vided sup­port on-and-off the pitch is the rea­son be­hind my suc­cess,” said Can­tan­heira yes­ter­day.

Ne­gri coach Asri Ning­gal said Can­tan­heira’s suc­cess of win­ning the award is a huge recog­ni­tion for Ne­gri.

“It is the first time a player from Ne­gri has re­ceived the award and this will be added mo­ti­va­tion to my en­tire squad for Satur­day’s match,” he said.

Asri said the team are fo­cused and ready to face Sabah.

“Ev­ery­thing is good ahead of the game. The play­ers are re­spond­ing well to my tactics and I hope we will beat Sabah.

“How­ever, we can­not be over­con­fi­dent as Sabah will prob­a­bly play a dif­fer­ent style un­der newly ap­pointed coach Jelius At­ing,” Asri added.

PIC BY IQMAL HAQIM ROSMAN

Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan’s Bruno Cas­tan­heira (left) re­ceives the PFAM’s best For­eign Player for the month of Fe­bru­ary award in Paroi yes­ter­day.

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