Friday, 9 March 2012

Kelantan unhappy with their foreign players

Kelantan have put strikers Onyekachi Nwoha and Mohammed Ghadar on notice that they are playing for their futures after both failed to find the target in the 0-0 draw with Vietnam's Navibank Saigon in the AFC Cup on Wednesday.

In a match which saw one-half of the pitch flooded in the second half due to continuous heavy rain, Lebanon forward Ghaddar and Nigerian Nwoha both wasted scoring chances while struggling to forge an understanding.

Ghaddar, who was replaced by Nwoha for Kelantan's domestic campaign, played his first match since Jan 20 as Bojan Hodak made six changes to the side that beat Negri Sembilan 2-1 last weekend in his first match in charge since replacing Peter Butler.

Hodak, who watched the Negri match from the Sultan Mohammed IV Stadium VIP box, agreed that the changes and inclusion of Ghaddar and Ghanaian Dennis Antwi, who has also not played for over a month, unsettled the side.

"Definitely, a little bit. I'll tell you why I made the changes. The next transfer window opens on April 2 and the management asked me for my input on the foreign players, to see whether they are good or not.

"Also because Norshahrul (Idlan Talaha) was not ready and I did not want to risk Indra (Putra Mahayuddin) on a heavy pitch because we are playing three games in six days and I only had a week to prepare the team.

"That is why we did not play well and Ghaddar, everything did he did today (Wednesday) was wrong because he has not trained much. He tried hard and nobody booed him. They are all good players and need to prove themselves.

"If they play well enough, then they will stay. If not, we have to find new strikers," said Hodak after the match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Nwoha and Ghaddar are in fact on trial for the rest of the month and while the former has four matches, possibly six if Kelantan make the FA Cup quarter-finals, to impress, Ghaddar has only one chance to convince Hodak in the AFC Cup match at Myanmar's Ayeyawady United on March 21.

Ghaddar was denied two penalty claims against Navibank but Hodak did not see the draw as having too much of an impact on their chances of qualifying for the second round, rating the two teams as the favourites in Group H.

"In the first 15-20 minutes, we were too nervous but we got better and had more chances and possession as the match went on. The second half was difficult, we had to play long balls but we played better tactically, concentration and discipline was better than against Negri Sembilan.

"This is not a bad result, we did not lose and the other game (Arema v Ayeyawady United) also ended in a draw (1-1). Navibank and Kelantan are the two better teams in the group.

"If we can win our remaining two home games, hopefully with our own crowd in Kota Baru where teams find it difficult to play, and get one away win, we should qualify," said the Croatian, who attached more importance to tomorrow's FA Cup second round tie against Kuala Lumpur in Kota Baru as anything other than a win would end Kelantan's hopes of winning the trophy for the first time.

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