THE Football Association Malaysia (FAM) have turned down Sarawak’s appeal to have this Tuesday’s first-leg FA Cup quarterfinal against Felda United played in Kuching instead of Selayang.
The homesick East Malaysians will now be in peninsula Malaysia for 10-days and coach Robert Alberts is hoping to end their Klang Valley sojourn on a high note by winning three games in all competitions.
The Crocs were not expected to get beyond the second round in the FA Cup, but they pulled off a stunning 1-0 win over Selangor to advance to the last eight.
Sarawak gave another fine performance to walk away with a 2-0 win over PKNS at the Selayang Stadium last week and are counting on a second consecutive win on the same ground.
“We did appeal to FAM to play the first-leg in Kuching, but it has been shot down. It means we will be in the Klang Valley for 10 days. Expenses is one thing, the players are homesick and not forgetting it has been a ‘nightmare’ to get training fields here (in Klang Valley),” Alberts told Sports247.my.
Alberts is however pleased and happy with the manner his players have coped with the many shortcomings.
“The players have shown character to face the challenge with lots of guts and determination. Many had not given us a chance against Selangor, but we beat them despite playing with 10-man.”
Sarawak are also without their ace in the pack – Bosnian striker Muamer Salibasic, who is a long term casualty with a tear in his left knee.
“We are finding it difficult without him, but somehow have managed to make do with some reshuffling. It would be great to have him in the team, but it will take some time before he comes back.”
With first choice custodian Sani Anuar Kamsani out of the FA Cup tie through suspension, Alberts is optimistic second choice goalie Fadzley Rahim will be able to handle the job.
“He had some jitters against PKNS, but overcame this with “confident handling of the ball” when under threat,” added Alberts.