KUCHING: Crocs to face-off with Malaysia’s best at Stadium Negeri tonight. Football fans are in for a special treat as the stage is now set for the first ever clash between the Sarawak football team with Harimau Malaya at the Stadium Negeri tonight.
|FRIENDLY RIVALRY: ‘Harimau Malaya’ captain Safiq Rahim gestures with Sarawak skipper Guy Bwele, while Rajagobal (left), Alberts (right) and Football Association of Sarawak deputy president Abu Bakar look on.|
Although billed as a friendly, Harimau Malaya would be fielding their strongest squad with familiar names such as team captain Safiq Rahim, Asrarudin Putra Omar, and Aidil Zaquan in their first eleven.
“We look at tomorrow’s (tonight) game as an opportunity to expose our players to various styles of play, and Sarawak certainly is not an easy team to face after seeing their performance against Singapore’s Lions XII last week,” said national coach Datuk K Rajagobal to The Borneo Post yesterday.
“I have told my players to have the winning mentality and although it will just be a friendly match, I want the players to see and play it as a real game and focus to win,” he added. Rajagobal also revealed that the match tonight is also a platform and an opportunity for him to scout for local talents who can be listed to play in the national squad.
He is currently on the lookout for potential players to build a solid squad to defend the AFF Suzuki Cup which Malaysia won in 2010. Rajagobal received some flak recently due to the mediocre performance of the national squad during friendly matches against the Philippines national squad and Sabah MSL team.
When asked whether he is eyeing any Sarawak players to be in the national team, Rajagobal replied that the Crocs had several potential players such as Ashri Chuchu and Rashid Aya, to name a few.
“We will see how things go after the game. What’s most important is consistency in playing,” he enthused. The Harimau Malaya team tonight has a sole Sarawakian, Venice Elphy in its roster. The Kuching-born striker is currently plying his trade with ATM in the Malaysian Premier League.
Meanwhile, Sarawak head coach Robert Alberts welcomed the national side and describe the game as a way for the state team to contribute towards the national football team development.
“We are expecting a very good match and quality of the game is ensured,” he said.
Tickets are priced at RM10 for the open terrace and RM15 for grandstand.
A win by Sarawak tonight will definitely set the fire and mood for another fiery home duel with Super League leaders Kelantan on April 7.
This is a thrilling game that must not be missed by supporters and fans of the Crocs. Kick-off is at 8.15pm. Fans are urged to wear red.
Source: Borneo Post