The Charity Shield tie in Penang on 28 February will kick off this year’s Liga KPM as SMK Bukit Nenas of Terengganu do battle against hosts SMK Mutiara Impian for the first silverware of the new season.
SMK Bukit Nenas were the overall champions of the Under-14 Ministry of Education League where they had beaten SMK Mutiara Impian 1-0 in the final that was played at the same venue.
Incidentally, the Charity Shield is the annual curtain raiser to the Liga KPM with the team that emerged as the top team from the Super League taking on the winners of the Premier League.
The Liga KPM also comprised of the U17 Ministry of Education League-FAM.
“What we expect this year is what we expect every year which is for the players to raise the level of their game,” said Harmiles Daramin, Sector Head, Planning and Coordination, Sports Division, Ministry of Education.
“This is a youth tournament which means results is secondary to the performance and considering that this year is the eighth year of the league, then we expect a certain standard for sure.”
In the meantime, Muhammad Rakhi Mat Saad will be hoping to win the Charity Shield to give the team just the right tonic for the season ahead.
“We lost out in the Charity Shield last year and we also lost in the final of the league, so there’s a lot to make up for,” said Muhammad Rakhi. “We have prepared the squad well this time round so we are confident that things will be different this time round.”
Asmawi Sulong, the assistant coach of SMK Bukit Nenas, added that the few friendly matches over the last several weeks, have put his team in a better preparation stage.
“We are definitely better prepared than we were last year,” added Asmawi. “We are confident of course of doing well and we hope to build on the success in 2014.”
For the record, SMK Bukit Nenas were also the champion of the U17 Ministry of Education League-FAM.