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