* We don’t want to return empty handed
* Kelantan arrive with injured Colombian striker Carillo
Azraai Khor Abdullah is on a hot mission in Kuala Terengganu when his new team Kelantan troops into the Sultan Ismail Nasirtuddin Shah Stadium for the fiery East Coast derby against neighbours Terengganu in Saturday’s Super League biggie – a match which is never dull in any aspect in the M-League.
What more Kelantan are likely to play without their Colombian striker Erwin Carillo while Terengganu have been given the green light to field their new signing – Canadian international Issey Nakajima who holds a Japanese passport and comes to fill the Asian quota.
“It does not matter if he (Nakajima) plays or not. I am more concerned with my own team. It has been tough on us but we have come with a mission, we don’t want to return empty handed,” said Azraai who took over the hot seat from George Boateng, who has been removed from the job following Kelantan’s miserable start to the league campaign.
After five matches, Kelantan are in seventh place in the 12-team Super League and have won only two matches and suffered successive and embarassing home defeats – losing 4-0 to Police and 1-0 to Felda United.
“It’s my first match and a fiery one too. I am returning to a place which I am familiar with. It stops at that and the battle on the field will be a ‘hot’ affair as seen from previous encounters between the two teams – let it be in Kuala Terengganu or in Kota Bahru.
“Erwin is injured but we have brought him along as we need our best players on the field to face Terengganu. Terengganu have a strong lineup and tried and tested players like Paulo Rangel who needs no introduction. So is Vincent Bikana and Gustavo (Lopez).”
Azraai, however, is counting on the Red Warriors’ to raise their game against Tertengganu as they have done in the past. There is always something special between the two teams…both on and off the field. It’s a tough call on me.
“But after taking over the team I believe we are re3ady for the challenge,” added Azraai who had to cut short his learning trip to Brazil and take charge of the Red Warriors after receiving a text message from Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
As a parting shot the widely travelled Azraai said: “The battle starts in Kuala Terengganu.”