Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sathia relishing his stay in ‘football heaven’


KOTA BARU: The Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru is a “football heaven” for Kelantan coach B. Sathianathan.
The former national coach said that teams should look forward playing in Kota Baru and not be intimidated by their partisan fans.
“The kind of atmosphere you get playing here is lacking in Malaysian football,” said Sathianathan after Kelantan, backed by a sell-out 25,000 crowd, defeated KL Plus 3-0 in a Malaysia Cup quarter-final second-leg match on Saturday to advance 4-1 on aggregate.
It will be the third time that Kelantan will be playing in the semi-finals after 1998 and 2001 under coach M. Karathu and K. Rajagopal respectively.
“It is just not only the environment that makes the difference for Kelantan but also the strong support of the management, led by the FA president, Tan Sri Annuar Musa,” said Sathianathan.
The players are well motivated as they received a bonus for making the semi-finals at a luncheon hosted by Tan Sri Annuar yesterday.
The players received RM2,000 each last week for qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Sathianathan also paid tribute to their travelling die-hard fans from the Klang Valley for the crucial home game.
“It is a pity they don’t have a bigger stadium to accommodate all their passionate football fans,” he said.
The game is so big in Kelantan that fans are willing to purchase tickets in black market, which cost four times more than the original price.
The chairman of the team management committee, Azman Ibrahim, said that tickets for the match against KL Plus were snapped up barely two hours after the counters were opened on match day.
“We have to tighten security at the ticket booths to avoid any ugly incidents,” he said.
Kelantan will be at home in the semi-final first-leg match against Perlis tomorrow.
“Perlis are a strong team and we need a good result at home,” said Sathianathan, who hopes to take the Red Warriors to their only second final in the history of the Malaysia Cup after 1970 when they lost 0-2 to Perak.
“If my men can play the same way against KL Plus and with the overwhelming fan support, we should be on our way to the final.”
National player Indra Putra Mahayuddin is the vital cog in the Kelantan team together with Mohd Norfarhan Mohd and Che Hishamuddin Hassan.
“Some of the players have been consistent and Indra has been outstanding throughout. If we had the services of skipper Mohd Badri (Radzi, who is injured) in midfield, we would be commanding in our attack,” said Sathianathan.
Meanwhile, Plus Expressways Bhd managing director, Noorizah Abdul Hamid, said that it had been an encouraging outing for the club side in their first season in the top flight.
“We should pick up the pieces from here and come back stronger,” she said.
(The Star 261009)

No comments:

Post a Comment