Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Kelantan ready to take on Singapore in first match

Former international S. Subramaniam’s decision to go east has paid off handsomely.

The 27-year-old former Perak defender said he took a gamble by venturing into unfamiliar territory after failing to win a champions medal in the M-League since turning professional five years ago.

“I won my first Malaysia Cup winner’s medal with Kelantan in my debut season in 2010. The following year we won the Charity Shield and the Super League. It was unfortunate that we lost the FA Cup final (2011) … otherwise I would have a complete collection of medals in the M-League,” said Subramaniam from Kota Baru yesterday.

Former national coach B. Sathianathan gave Subramaniam the big break bu hiring the tough tackling defender for Kelantan in 2010.

It proved to be a perfect match as Kelantan won their first-ever Malaysia Cup that year.

“I have never experienced such an electrifying atmosphere in my playing career as the one in Kota Baru. It was a wise choice to play for Kelantan and I believe there is more to come in the new season,” said Subramaniam.

The Kelantan FA (Kafa) have strengthened the side with the return of frontrunners Indra Putra Mahayuddin, Mohd Norfarhan Mohd and defender Azizi Mat Rose.

Kelantan also have hotshot Norsharul Idlan Talaha – a two-time Most Valuable Player (2010 and 2011) – to spearhead the charge for goals and inspirational skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi.
Subramaniam said the new imports were also shaping up well with Mohd Ghaddar (Lebanon) and Dennis Agyare Antwi (Ghana) playing attacking roles.

He, however, expects the backline to be come under severe pressure this season with the introduction of foreign players.

“It will be a good challenge for the Kelantan defence, which comprises local players. Of course, I have faced foreign strikers before when I played with Perak. The boys are focused and we all want a good outing again,” said Subramaniam, who will be partnering Azizi in the heart of defence.

Kelantan will play Negri Sembilan in the curtain raiser Charity Shield match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday.

They will then travel to the Jalan Besar Stadium (artificial pitch) to open their Super League campaign against Singapore Lions XII on Tuesday. The visitors are making a return to the fold after an 18-year hiatus.

Kelantan team manager Azman Ibrahim said “we are ready for action and will be in Kuala Lumpur today”.

“We want also to get familarised with the artificial pitch and we will train at the NSC ground (artificial) for a couple of days before we fly to Singapore,” he said.

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