Barely a couple of days after their historic run in the AFC Cup 2022 ended with a 3-0 defeat in the final to Oman’s Al Seeb, Kuala Lumpur City are forced to quickly wipe away the tears and pick up the pieces to begin the defence of their Malaysia Cup with an away ‘trip’ to Premier League side Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) in the first round of the knock-out competition at their stomping ground in Cheras on Thursday then followed by the return leg at the same venue as the home team on November 1, 2022.
Picking up from news reports, Zhafri could not hide his disappointment for events that unfolded in front of the 27,722 fans last Saturday at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil but indicated that the team is raring to redeem themselves in the nation’s oldest cup tournament and are hoping to mount a successful defence.
“For us, what happened in the final was disappointing. We missed out on the best chance to win the AFC Cup. But as players, we’ve got to get past that and be ready for the next (game). More so, the next one is the Malaysia Cup. It’s a new chapter for us and we’ve got to focus on this challenge. We’ve got good record in this competition, we were champions last season”, he said to both Kosmo and Utusan Malaysia.
Adding further, the Man of the Match of last year’s final where the City Boys did a David against the might of the Johorean Goliaths, spoke of the team’s desire to do well again in the 101st anniversary of the competition.
“We want to rise in the Malaysia Cup and we hope to repeat the same success (of 2021), even though on paper, it is an extremely testing path if we want to go far. We mustn’t let our guard down with any team including PDRM. We’ll give 100% to win to secure our place into the next round.”
Victory over The Cops in the Round of 16 would see the City Boys play the winner of Terengganu/Pahang in the quarter-finals, and the winner of Kelantan United/Selangor/Negeri Sembilan/Kedah await in the semis.
1989 was the last time the Malaysia Cup was held as a straight up knock-out competition from the get go; older fans and followers of the Sampai Mati Kuala Lumpur faithful would remember the year as the last of their trilogy of Malaysia Cup titles before 2021’s triumph. In that year which also marked the beginning of the semi-professional era of Malaysian football, Chow Kwai Lam’s team finished only a point behind Selangor for the league title, but their defence of the cup got off to a 2-1 loss to an Awang Mahyan inspired Sarawak in Kuching. The City Boys who were also known as the Le Grande KL back then, were awarded the return leg on a technical decision after the Sarawakian players attacked the referee in the return fixture at the Merdeka Stadium. Meeting Pahang in the last four, they lost 1-0 in Kuantan, but thrashed the Elephants 4-1 in second leg, and the rest as they say is history.
“We’ve good history in the Malaysia Cup. Bojan (head coach) too surely has laid out the best plans for us and as players, we just need to follow it. We hope that Lady Luck smiles kindly for us once again”, said the 28-year old at the end of the interview.
Sang Saka Biru who are utilising the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium for all their home fixtures this year, qualified for the Malaysia Cup as one of the five highest ranked non-feeder teams from the Premier League, despite finishing sixth in the standings. They join runner-up Kelantan, third placed Kuching City, fifth placed Kelantan United and UiTM in seventh, as representatives from the second division that were paired with 11 teams from the Super League. At the draw on October 6, 2022, PDRM were placed in the bottom half of the bracket and were paired to meet the sixth position team of the Super League. The Red and White were confirmed as their opponents after the final round of top division fixtures on October 15, 2022.
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).