Friday, 6 January 2012

Negri Sembilan ready to face Kelantan in Charity Shield

Coach Azraai Khor has conceded that Negri Sembilan will start the Charity Shield  against Kelantan as underdogs in the season curtain raiser on Saturday.  

Kelantan won the Super League last season finishing three points ahead of Terengganu, while Negri overcame a bad start to the season and managed to lift the Malaysia Cup.

The east coast side were initially supposed to host the match but the FA of Malaysia (FAM) decided on moving it to the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil in view of the inclement weather in Kota Baru.

"Kelantan at the moment are on top. They are a strong team and have bought four or five good players," said Azraai yesterday.

"I think we are very close but at the moment they are still above us."

Negri suffered a blow when Brazilian centre-back Marquen Nuquen Goncalves' registration was rejected by FAM, leaving them with a huge hole in the heart of their defence in the absence of Aidil Zafuan Radzak, who has joined Premier League outfit Armed Forces.

"Kelantan have a huge following and playing them in Bukit Jalil will not give us any advantage.

"We, however, will treat the match like a final. We want a good start before we face Selangor in our opening Super League match."

Azraai has a mixed squad of youth and experience with Shukor Adan, Idris Karim, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Shahurain Abu Samah, S. Kunanlan, Farizal Marlias and Cameroon import Jean Emmanauel Effa Owona forming the core of the team.

Negri and Kelantan will only be playing for the shield and not for points, unlike  previous seasons, on Saturday.

Tickets are priced at RM30 (grand stand) and RM15 (open).

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