Kuala Lumpur City’s Chief Executive Officer Stanley Bernard wants his team to use the Malaysia Cup competition as the perfect antidote for the pain they are suffering from losing in the AFC Cup final last Saturday at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil to Al Seeb Club of Oman.
The City Boys were poised to follow in the footsteps of Malaysia’s first ever AFC Cup winner, Johor DT, who won the 2015 edition, but unfortunately, they will have to wait longer for another chance at continental level success. Having reached the semi-final stage twice before in the Asian Club Championships in 1987 and 1989, then the Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) sole and premier club tournament, headcoach Bojan’s side made a dream run to the final of the second level Asian club tournament, that included victories at home over Singapore’s Tampines Rovers and Indonesia’s PSM Makassar, as well as wins in Vietnam (Viettel), India (ATK Mohun Bagan) and Uzbekistan (PFC Sogdiana), before coming up short in the final, losing 3-0 in front of 27,722 spectators who were largely rooting for them to add the AFC Cup to their list of honours after doing so this year with the ASEAN and East Asian crowns.
Speaking to Sinar Harian the day before the start of their Malaysia Cup defence against Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) in the first round of the knockout stage that comprises of 16 teams, the 36-year old former footballer who began and ended his professional career in the colours of Red And White and also represented the national team, was hopeful for a positive reaction from his team.
“I wish the players would use this Malaysia Cup as the best stage to bounce back from the disappointment of the AFC Cup final, thus ending this successful season triumphantly”.
“I won’t be surprised if we make it to the final (of the Malaysia Cup) again based on what we’ve seen at the Asian level. However, this really depends on their current mental state.”
Stanley whose journey in football saw him leave the comforts of home for a years stint in India with Sporting Clubs de Goa explained that nothing about success comes easy,
“If they (the players) take that defeat in the final in a positive manner, I think that will be a powerful tool to raise their spirits and redeem themselves. However, if the opposite occurs, it will not be good for the team.”
Citing reasons such as scheduling issues and concerns with the effects of the annual monsoon season that may force postponements, Malaysia Football League (MFL) departed from the general format of the Malaysia Cup to reintroduce the straight up knockout competition that was last seen in 1989, when the City Boys were champions of the nation’s oldest cup tournament for the third time in the history.
Victory over The Cops in this Round of 16 fixtures in Cheras (both Home & Away ties are to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium) would see the holders facing a treacherous path to the final, with the winner of Terengganu/Pahang welcoming them in the quarter-finals, while the winner of Kelantan United/Selangor/Negeri Sembilan/Kedah are scheduled for the semis.
The Malaysia Cup Match Day 1 fixture between Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) and Kuala Lumpur City is on Thursday, October 27, 2022, at 9PM (2100hrs) at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium, Cheras.
Tickets for the Super League match against Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) are available at the following link, https://www.tickethotline.com.my/
For Season Ticket Holders (B2 City Boys), enjoy direct access for purchase through the Club without the hassle and limitations of the online system (Contact Shamim for details).