Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Negri Sembilan still confident despite many problems

Negri Sembilan have taken a series of knocks even before the new season of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) kick off but it hasn’t dampened coach Azraai Khor Abdullah’s resolve to build a strong team.

Negri lost five players from their Malaysia Cup-winning team – the Razak twins of Mohd Aidil Zafuan and Mohd Zaquan Adha, striker Hairuddin Omar, defender Irwan Fadzli Idrus and goalkeeper Farizal Harun – to Premier League outfit Armed Forces.

Azraai then suffered another blow when Brazilian centreback Marquen Nuquen Goncalves’ registration was rejected by the FA of Malaysia (FAM), leaving them with a huge hole in the heart of their defence.

“Marquen can’t play for us and I have had to look for someone to partner Norhafiz Zamani Misbah on short notice,” said Azraai.

“I prefer to look at the situation positively … it opens up a chance for our local players. I may choose either Mohd Alif Shamsudin or G. Mahathevan to partner Norhafiz.

“Alif and Maha have performed well thus far and shown good attitude in training and friendlies. They are aware that Marquen’s loss could be their gain.”

Azraai has warned his men that Saturday’s Charity Shield match against Kelantan would be “the real test for us”.

Negri had beaten beat Kelantan 3-1 in a friendly at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi in November.

“We are still not at our best yet but I believe the match against Kelantan will be the right tonic before we open our Super League campaign,” said Azraai.

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