FIRST-TIMERS Perak SEDC and University Technology Malaysia (UiTM) have each set a high target in the Malaysia Cup.
Both Premier League teams believe they have the depth to upset the form book in their respective groups to make the quarter-finals.
Perak SEDC, comprising former Malaysia Games and President’s Cup players, have defied the odds this season by reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.
The club are also on course to earn promotion to the Super League as they are currently second in their first ever season in the Premier League.
Perak SEDC’s resounding season so far has surprised many as they have been relying on only three foreigners and young local players.
Despite having inexperienced players, coach Abu Bakar Fadzim believes they can challenge former champions Pahang and Negri Sembilan and T-Team to finish top two in Group A.
“We have been consistent and this has surprised many. Self-belief is important in football and I hope the boys will maintain their form in the Malaysia Cup,” Abu Bakar said yesterday.
“We are also looking for a fourth foreigner to boost our squad. Perak have loaned us defender Raffi Nagoorgani and winger Hafiz Ramdan. I believe the new inclusions will give me more option.
“Pahang are the favourites in the group but I think we can match the others to create history by qualifying for the quarter-finals.”
UiTM are relieved that Nigerian striker Akanni Wasiu and South Korean winger Do Dong Hyun, who have scored 23 goals between them, have pledged to remain with the club until the end of the season.
Wasiu and Dong Hyun received several offers from Super League clubs but both want to stay on and help UiTM create history.
UiTM are in Group C with Kedah, Kelantan and Melaka.
Coach Wan Mustaffa Wan Ismail hopes Wasiu and Dong Hyun will keep to their word as they may change their mind before the mid-season transfer window ends on June 11.
“I hope they will not make a Uturn in the last minute as we are not looking for new foreign signings,” said Wan Mustaffa. Ajitpal Singh