MAKE MALAYSIA CUP GREAT AGAIN
Terengganu coach Irfan wants tournament to regain premier status
TERENGGANU coach Irfan Bakti wants the Malaysia Cup to regain its status as the premier tournament in the country. The Malaysia Cup used to be the final competition of the year, but it is now held in tandem with the Super League and Premier League in the second half of the season.
The hectic schedule is also not helping some teams who have not been taking the Malaysia Cup seriously as they are focused on their league campaigns.
On Tuesday, Premier League sides Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan and Perak SEDC fielded mixed squads in the Malaysia Cup as the four are fighting for promotion to the Super League next season.
Perak SEDC, who made five changes, were hammered 6-0 by Pahang, while Terengganu suffered a 5-0 thrashing from Darul Ta’zim.
Negri, who had six President’s Cup players in the line-up, lost 4-1 to T-Team, but KL did better, losing only 2-0 to Perak in Ipoh.
Perak SEDC are the only Premier League team who have qualified for the Malaysia Cup.
“I rested Firdaus Faudzi, Ismail Faruqi Asha’ri, Azi Shahril Azmi and Kipre Tchetche against Darul Ta’zim as we had no chance of making the last eight.
“I did not want to take the risk of having my regulars injured ahead of Friday’s Premier League match against Kuantan.
“It was the same for KL, Negri and Perak SEDC. They all rested key players as all four teams are focused on finishing top two in the Premier League for promotion slots,” said Irfan yesterday.
Irfan said the fixture congestion is the main reason teams are sacrificing their Malaysia Cup campaigns.
“The fixtures are very congested…it was better before. The Malaysia Cup should be held after the completion of the Super League and Premier League.
“The Malaysia Cup used to be the most competitive tournament in the country where every team will look forward for it. Now it has become a sideshow,” Irfan added.
Perak SEDC was attaining decent results with seven wins, one draw and one defeat with their rotation policy after the break before the thrashing by Pahang in Kuantan on Tuesday.
“In previous matches, I only made two or three changes in the Malaysia Cup but yesterday, I fielded five fringe players, and it turned out to be disastrous as the team could not click,” said Perak SEDC coach Abu Bakar Fadzim.
“It is an eye opener, and I hope we will take the positives from this match to bounce back in the next game.
“Frankly, I made these changes as I did not want my regulars to suffer from injuries before Friday’s crucial league match against Kuala Lumpur.
“We had nothing to lose against Pahang as we had already achieved our objective of qualifying for the quarter-finals. But I expected a better performance from the players.
On the tight scheduling, Abu Bakar admitted that it was mentally and physically stressful, but his players had trained for it during the break in June.
“Any coach in Malaysia will complain about the fixtures. But we cannot do anything about it as the fixtures were drawn up at the beginning of the season.
“We just have to adapt and make the best of things to achieve good results. I am lucky that I have young players who are adaptable to the hectic schedule,” Abu Bakar added.