Defending champions Kelantan have not hit form, yet.
Team manager Azman Ibrahim said the Red Warriors have not been playing as a team nor up to expectations in the Super League, thus far.
Kelantan opened their 2012 campaign with a 2-1 loss to Negri Sembilan in the Charity Shield match on Jan 7. They made amends by beating newcomers Lions XII 2-1 in the opening match of the Super League at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
Their next two outings were not too encouraging either – being held 1-1 by PKNS FC and struggling to edge Johor FC 2-1.
“I think they have yet to understand each other’s game well, especially the foreign and local players,” said Azman yesterday.
He hopes the team will show improvement in the coming matches, especially with the AFC Cup competition coming up in March.
He said the Kelantan FA (Kafa) wanted to raise the bar for the Red Warriors after having made their mark in domestic competitions over the last two seasons.
Kelantan won the Malaysia Cup title for the first time in 2010 before being crowned Super League champions last year.
Azman said the two foreign players – Mohd Ghaddar Mahmoud of Lebanon and Dennis Antwi of Ghana – would have to deliver the goods if they wanted to stake a serious claim for the AFC Cup, which kicks off in March. “We will monitor their performance to see if they meet our requirements… otherwise we’ll have to decide on their fate before the window for foreign players closes next month (Feb 13),” said Azman.
Mohd Ghaddar has scored once while Antwi has yet to open accounts after three matches.
Kelantan are currently tied with leaders T-Team on seven points after three matches.
In the AFC Cup, Kelantan are drawn in Group H with Ayeyawady United of Myanmar, Arema Indonesia and Navibank Saigon. Their opening game is against Navibank Saigon at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on March 7.