Tuesday, 27 September 2011

T-Team aiming high after reaching quarter finals

Malaysia Cup debutants T-Team must be walking tall now that they have clinched a berth in the quarter-finals.

Coach Yunus Alif said the team's target of making the last eight was achieved with a 1-1 draw with Kuala Lumpur at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu on Saturday.

"All we need now is a positive result in our last group match against the Police on Tuesday (today) and we will be group winners," said Yunus, who has had his fair share of problems after taking over the Kuala Terengganu Football Association team late last year.

The coach did not have the best of starts when T-Team were dumped from the FA Cup in the opening round and he was once ordered to take "indefinite leave" and his services were almost terminated after a string of bad results in the Super League.

Even prior to the Malaysia Cup, Yunus said his position as head coach was still precarious as rumours were rife about him being replaced yet again.

"I was finally given the vote of confidence, and now here I am with my boys about to play in the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals in our very first attempt," said the coach.

"Somehow, we all feel this is just the beginning for us and we believe we have what it takes to progress beyond the quarter-finals."

Depending on the results of the last group matches, T-Team -- who are expected to beat Police today -- will meet either Kedah or Sabah from Group A as Perak will emerge group champions regardless of how their away match against Kedah ends.

Meanwhile, Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti, who is equally excited now that his team are also through to the quarter-finals, said T-Team have proved to be genuine Malaysia Cup title contenders.

"I do not know of any other team in the country who have the ability to beat Selangor four times in a row but T-Team did just that, home and away, this season," said Irfan.

"They had also beaten Super League champions Kelantan twice in the league and every other quarter-finalist, including us, should be afraid of them."

Irfan, who is not too concerned with his quarter-final opponents, said his aim is to finish the preliminary stage as Group B winners by beating Negri in Kuala Terengganu today.

"We will meet either Kelantan or Felda in the quarter-finals and judging by the form of both teams, either will be more than a handful for us.

"It's a good thing we have about two weeks before the next round begins as we are not quite ready yet. There are a few things to be looked into," he said.

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