Friday, 6 January 2012

Negri Sembilan confident for next season despite losing top players

Negri Sembilan will still be a team to be reckoned with despite losing their star players.

Seasoned campaigner Mohd Shukor Adan has warned that Negri will be no pushovers for the new season although they have parted ways with several key players, including last year’s Malaysia Cup hero Hairuddin Omar, goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Harun, defender Irwan Fadli Idrus and twins Mohd Zaquan and Mohd Aidil Adha Abdul Razak.

“It is common for players to change teams. This is no excuse for us not to mount a serious challenge for honours. I believe coach Mohd Azraai (Khor Abdullah) has done the necessary to strengthen the squad and I believe we have enough quality in the team to face the challenges in the new season,” said Shukor from Seremban yesterday.

Negri finished their 2011 campaign with a bang, edging Terengganu 2-1 in the Malaysia Cup final.

But the Deer endured a poor outing in the Super League when they could only finish eighth and they were also early casualties in the FA Cup, going down to Kuala Lumpur 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the second round. 

The Deer have beefed up their squad with 10 new signings, including Cameroon striker Jean-Emmanuel Effa Owona and Shakir Ali of Kedah. 

Shukor wants Negri to be more consistent in their performances and is hoping that they will be able to get off on the right track when they play Kelantan in the curtain raiser Charity Shield match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow. 

“Kelantan are the strongest team in the MSL (Malaysian Super League) but we will be no pushovers. We will be the underdogs but we will do our best to get a positive result,” said Shukor. 

Negri also have quality hands in the versatile S. Kunalan and Shahurain Abu Samah, who will be playing key roles in attack.

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