Kedah is a tremendous story of triumph – the story is unlike any other on the list of Malaysian football – where coach Azraai Khor Abdullah became a sort of ‘cult’ legend after taking the Canaries to a double treble in 2007 and 2008.
No team has achieved that success – winning the prestigious Malaysia Cup, the FA Cup, and the League Cup – in one season. The Canaries (as Kedah were then known as) did it not once but twice and the back to back treble is Malaysian football history.
Head coach Azraai Khor has ”immortalized” the back to back treble in his car’s registration number KDT 33 which is now his pride. KDT reads Kedah’s Double Treble.
For the former Kedah and national defender, it is “priceless” and will not part with his prized possession for any price although he received many offers.
Selangor may have won the Malaysia Cup a record 33 times but it stops at that for the Red Giants.
Kedah, also known as Hijau Kuning (Green and Yellow) to reflect the northern state as the nation’s rice bowl (Jelapang Padi in Bahasa) wrote a new chapter in Malaysia’s football history.
It is a story that is worth repeating again and again for football remains the number one sport in this nation of 32 million. It is enjoyed, both, by the young and old and even families – sometimes which even leads to keen rivalry among siblings.
“To achieve the treble in two consecutive seasons will take another 100 years or more,” Kedah’s assistant coach Radhi Mat Din summed it up on Kedah’s success.
It did not stop at that for Azraai Khor and the company. In the 100PLUS 2008 National Football Awards, Kedah virtually made a clean sweep of all the awards. at stake.
Best Goalkeeper: Helmi Eliza Elias
Best Defender: Victor Andrag
Best Midfielder: Khyril Muhymeen Zambri
Best Foreign Player: Marlon Alex James
Most Valuable Player: Helmi Eliza Elias
Best Coach: Azraai Khor Abdullah
NOTE: Azraai, Victor, Marlon James had also won the same award in 2007.
Recollecting the Double Treble, Azraai, who took over the hot seat from Brazilian Mirandinha in 2004 – a year when Kedah was relegated. However, did work is magic to take Kedah to the Malaysia Cup final which ended with a 1-0 defeat to neighbors Perlis. The final was played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
Putting that defeat aside, Kedah manager Dato Ahmad Basri Akil – the father of Kedah football – together with Azraai Khor embarked on a mission to look for ”anak jati Kedah” (sons of the soil) and went to all corners of the state looking for true born Kedah football talent.
This mission saw the birth of players like Baddrol Bakthiar, Khyril Muhymeen Zambri, and Sabree Abu, Helmi Eliza Elias.
Kedah also had strong foreign players – Marlon Alex James and Bernard Hugging, both from
St Vincent & Grenadines, and Chilean hot-shot Nelson San Martin – all of whom also played a big role in Kedah’s double treble success.
Now known as the Red Eagles, Kedah has won the Malaysia Cup five times – in 1990, 1993, 2007, 2008 and 2016. The team was runners-up in 1940, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2004, 2015, 2014 and 2019.
Kedah won the FA Cup in 1996, 2007, 2008, 2017 and 2019 and finished runners-up in 2010.
The northern state also won the League Cup thrice – in 1993, 2007 and 2008 and runners-up in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2003.
The team landed the Charity Shield in 1991, 1994 and 2017 and were runners-up in 1997, 2008, 2009, 2018 and 2020. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH