* Sarawak will up their ante to face Kelantan in FA Cup
* ‘Kelantan has been our bogey team in the FA Cup last three seasons,’ says Alberts
Sarawak’s Dutch coach Robert Alberts is a strong believer in “football harmony” for a team to do well in the game and is one happy man who has instilled this discipline in his team.
Come Friday the East Malaysians hope to ride on their unbeaten run in the Super League to put a stop to a three-season jinx against Kelantan when they meet the Red Warriors in a second round FA Cup match at the State Stadium in Kuching.
“Kelantan has been our bogey team in the FA Cup for the last three teams. It is a big match for us to face Kelantan in the FA Cup soon after the Red Warriors suffered a humiliating defeat to Police in the (Super) League,” said the Dutchman in a telephone interview from Kuching.
Alberts was referring to Kelantan’s 4-0 defeat to newcomers Police in the league at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Bahru last Saturday – a defeat which became the talk of the country.
And to face the wounded Red Warriors immediately after the thrashing “spells danger” in Alberts’ own words
“It will be a very difficult match against Kelantan. They are wounded after the big defeat to Police…nobody knows the reasons behind that thrashing. We have to be well focused and show a much more better and committed performance although I am happy with my team’s overall performance in the league where we are unbeaten.”
Sarawak held Felda United to a 3-3 draw in their opening Super League match away. This was followed by an emphatic 3-1 win over Terengganu at home before the scoreless draw against Pahang also at home.
For the FA Cup match against Kelantan, Alberts will have to make do without goalkeeper Mohd Iqbal Suhaimi and Montenegro defender Ivan Fatic, both of whom are injured.
“Still, our team spirit and morale is sky high. There is fantastic harmony in the team…in football harmony is an important ingredient in a team. Sarawak has loads of that,” added Alberts.
“I was quite upset when there was a report in a local daily in Sarawak that the foreigners have not blended in the team. This is rubbish and I later found out that the report was written by someone who does not even come to our matches in Kuching.”
Alberts has called on his players to push up another gear to keep their unbeaten run so far this season.