The obvious threat comes from Negeri Sembilan, who is the reigning Malaysia Cup champion. The Deers’ final position of sixth in the recently concluded Super League does not reflect their true credentials. Azraai Khor’s men are well-equipped in terms of experience and youth, with Super League top scorer Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona leading their line upfront.
Sime Darby too had an impressive season that saw them marching all the way into the FA Cup final, before losing to eventual champion Kelantan in the final last May. The Premier League side boasts one of the hottest foreign signing, Patrick Ronaldinho the team’s leading campaigner. Felda United too cannot be taken lightly. E. Elavarasan’s boys were only narrowly defeated twice in the Super League earlier this year, with the scoreline being 2-1 in favour of Perak on both occasions.
Though their group matches appear delicate enough, a bigger challenge awaits them in the knockout round. The two teams that qualify from Group C will face off against two qualifiers from Group B, which is the official “Group of Death” with the likes of Kelantan, Terengganu, ATM and Kedah in it.
There is no denying that Perak will be in for a tough Malaysia Cup campaign. Not many feel they will go far. However, midfield maestro, Michal Kubala is optimistic.
“The team has been training hard. We’ll show our true form in the Malaysia Cup. Every game will be a hard game as there are no easy games in football,” he told Ipoh Echo.
Nevertheless, the Seladangs have made a positive move to bolster their squad. They have snapped up three Sabah players in the form of skipper Reithaudin Awang, Zuraindey Jumai and Fariss Azlan. Reithaudin is already well-known for his experience in defence while Zuraindey and Fariss will add more oomph to the side.
Jang Jung is likely to introduce several talents from the successful Perak President Squad into the senior team. Players like Kenny Pallraj and Nurridzuan Abu Hassan are likely to make the cut.
With Perak set to open their Malaysia Cup campaign against Sime Darby on Wednesday, August 22, the final preparation kicks off now. Inconsistency was a niggling issue throughout the Super League season. Jang Jung is keen to sort things out before the big day. With the inclusion of the new players, the squad is definitely capable of going far. That is my honest to goodness view.