It was only a few years ago – in 2007 and 2008, to be exact – that Kedah were celebrating back-to-back treble success in Malaysian football.
Now, however, the Canaries are facing the prospect of an early exit from the Malaysia Cup after collecting just four points from four matches in Group A.
Perak lead the way in the group with 10 points while second-placed Sabah have seven points. The fourth team in the group, Johor, have only one point.
Kedah need to collect full points from their two remaining matches, otherwise they can kiss goodbye to their hopes of making the knockout stage. But their task has been made even more difficult as they have to take on Sabah and Perak in their remaining fixtures.
Kedah entertain Sabah tonight before wrapping up their group fixtures with a clash against Perak on Tuesday.
Former national coach Wan Jamak Hassan, however, is not about to throw in the towel despite the odds being stacked against them.
“Our fate in the Malaysia Cup is in our own hands,” Wan Jamak said in a telephone interview from Alor Setar yesterday.
And he is counting on a little bit of help from Lady Luck when the Malaysia Cup competition resumes after a week-long break.
With Sabah being just three points ahead of them, Wan Jamak knows that the door to the quarter-finals is not closed yet.
That is why it is crucial for Kedah to beat Sabah.
“We lost 2-1 to Sabah at Likas earlier this month largely because of our hectic schedule, which saw us travelling to away matches in the first round. My Canaries are well rested now and we will be a different proposition at home this time,” said Wan Jamak.
“If players like Badrul (Bakhtiar), Fauzi Nan and Amar Rohidan can regain their form and deliver the goods, we can at least go into our final group match knowing that we can still make the knockout stage.”
And, as usual, Kedah will be counting on national players – midfielder Mohd Khyril Muhymeen and leftback Azmi Muslim, who have scored seven goals between them – to keep their flickering hopes alive at the Darulaman Stadium tonight.