Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) coach Arul Selvaraj is confident his ‘new-look’ team is prepared to solve the challenge physically and mentally against Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup champions Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in Friday’s Premier League match at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.
“It is going to be a different ball game altogether against TNB, who defeated us 3-0 in the semi-finals of the Alagendra Cup knockout tournament two weeks ago. We have all our foreign signings around this time and they are experienced players,” said Arul.
“It is going to be a very balanced game now unlike in the Alagendra Cup,” he added. “However, I would still rate TNB as favourites as they have 10 national players who have played at the highest level.”
“Likewise some of our foreign players have also competed at the highest level, coming straight after the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India and they know how to cope with the situation,” said Arul.
For the first time in the League, UniKL paraded five of their six foreign players – Martijn Havenga, Valentin Verga and Robbert Kemperman (Holland), together with Australians Timothy Deavin and Kieran Govers against Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in the 2-1 win last Sunday at the Tun Razak Stadium.
Ireland captain and goalkeeper David Harte, added Arul, is on the way to recovery following a mild groin strain and was rested against UiTM.
Apart from the Dutch, Irish and Australian connections, UniKL have national team captain Sukri Abdul Mutalib, drag-flick specialist Razie Abdul Rahim and team captain Marhan Jalil to count on with plenty of experience in defence and upfront.
“The foreign players told me after the game against UiTM they are beginning to foster a better understanding with their teammates as the match progressed. This is a welcome sign as they only arrived two days earlier.”
“We will work on putting the pieces together,” said Arul, adding that he still needs between two to three more matches to improve the quality of UniKL performance.
TNB will go into the match after scoring heavily against Nur Insafi following a 10-0 victory last week but UniKL will be more than happy to exploit any mistakes.