Sunday, May 24, 1998

Chance for clubs to strut their stuff (The Malay Mail)

WITH respects and recognition for club teams growing, the fifth edition of
the FAM Cup which kicks off tomorrow, takes on a new sheen of interest.
The fact that club teams like Johor FC and Negri Sembilan Chempaka have
passed through the doors of the FAM Cup to battle state sides in Premier
Two reflect the status of the tournament.
With four teams qualifying from the FAM Cup to the FA Cup competition,
that's further incentive.
The FAM Cup is a platform for club teams to get a shot at professional
State teams. Notably, Johor FC and Chempaka are holding their own against
the states.
While clubs like Maybank and Pahang LKPP, who competed in last year's
meet, withdrawn this year due to financial constraint, it's encouraging
that other clubs are enthusiastic.
Six new teams who qualified from the qualifying tournament will join six
teams from last season for the FAM Cup challenge.
The newcomers are Sabah Gunosukod Pangaits, Kedah Kota Setar Town
Council, Johor JB City Hall, Kelantan JKR, Selangor Wilayah Maju-KPSNS and
Terengganu Perkasa Alam.
The teams from last season are Malacca Telekoms, Kuala Lumpur Malay
Mail, Negri Sembilan Bank Simpanan Nasional, Kelantan TNB, Kedah JKR and
Kedah PKNK.
Telekoms, who emerged the 1996 FAM champions when they denied Johor FC a
hattrick, will start as favourites.
Telekoms are among the few teams in the League who have recruited some
calibre players, both local and foreign, due to strong financial backing
from their management.
A notable player in their team is Ghanian Isaac Kuffor who is in his
second season with the team. A member of Ghana's Junior World Cup squad
last year, he scored 17 goals in last year's FAM Cup tournament.
BSN are another team to watch out for as they have been impressive in
their friendly matches and that includes victories over Telekom and Malay
Former Armed Forces coach M. Paramasivam has been hired to guide them.
But they are a strictly local outfit who have shown great potential to be
among the front runners.
Malay Mail, in their second season, have also strengthened their team by
recruiting several former national and State players. Among them are S.
Balachandran (former KL and Sabah), T. Gopinath Naidu (former KL and
Perak), K. Viajantheran (former KL and Perak), S. Mathen, K. Hemadass, S.
Saravanan (all former KL), N. Suresh (former Perlis) and M. Pavalamani
(former KL, Sabah, Malacca and Terengganu).
MM also have up and coming youngsters like Rakis Setia Khan, Mohamad
Imran Ahmad, Azizul Jamaluddin and Roshaidi Ramli while they rely only on
one foreigner, Australian Taso Notaras.
Of the newcomers in the tournament, Sabah's Gunosukod Pangaits should be
a team to watch out for. With their declared aim of playing in Premier One
in the year 2000, Pangaits are serious about their campaign.
They have three foreigners in Scottish defender Derek Wemyss, Brazilian
midfielder Edilson Cesar De Araujo and French striker Joel Lahon.
Among the notable coaches involved in the tournament are Mosthakeen Omar
and P. Balakrishan for Kedah JKR and Kedah PKNK respectively.
Others include Paramsivam (BSN), Salim Mahmud (Kelantan TNB), Radzali
Embi (Telekoms) and Marcellinus Bungkilan (Gunusukod).
The clubs each get a RM30,000 subsidy from the FAM for the first round
of the League which involves 10 matches - five home and five away. But to
manage a team for the period alone needs at least RM60,000.
The top four teams from each Group of six will advance to the final
rounds where they will again be divided into two Groups and play another
six matches - three home and three away.
The top two teams in each group will proceed to the semifinals which are
played on a home and away basis. The final is also played over two legs.
For the final rounds, the clubs each get another RM20,000 from FAM.
The champion of the tournament will earn RM50,000 while the runners-up
get RM25,000.

1994: Johor FC; 1995: Johor FC; 1996: Malacca Telekoms; 1997: Armed
Setar Town Council, Johor JB City Hall and NEGRI SEMBILAN BSN.

Tuesday, May 5, 1998

Malay Mail worry over one-goal lead (NST)

A ONE-GOAL cushion against Premier Two side Police doesn't mean anything
for Kuala Lumpur Malay Mail in their FA Cup first round second leg match
at Merdeka Stadium today.
Malay Mail coach R. Subramaniam said: "Police are always very dangerous
when they are down and we will start the second leg as though we have only
drawn 0-0 in the first leg.
"Our rivals will want to redeem themselves after a shocking 6-1 loss to
Armed Forces on Friday."
Malay Mail defeated Police 2-1 in the first leg at KL Stadium two weeks
The result might appear as an upset on paper but Malay Mail have a pool
of experienced former internationals and ex-Kuala Lumpur players to boast
Leading their charge will be ex-international midfielder S.
Balachandran, goalkeeper M. Pavalamani and former Olympic squad player T.
Gopinath Naidu.
Their midfield looks solid with N. Suresh, who played for Perlis last
year, providing support for Bala and Gopinath to trouble Police, who rely
heavily on Moroccan El Mustafa Azour in that department.
Malay Mail's backline is marshalled by Taso Notaras, in his third season
with the side. The Australian has played for Perth-based Floreat Athena in
the Australian League.
The majority of Malay Mail players have played for Kuala Lumpur and
other State and junior squads at one time or another.
With such credentials, Malay Mail have the pedigree to make the second
round and set up an interesting clash with big brother Kuala Lumpur.
Subramaniam, a former international during the era of R. Arumugam and
Santokh Singh, admitted they are looking forward to the clash with KL -
which will pit former city players against the current crop of youngsters.
It would also be a test of experience against youth and speed.
"But we are still the underdogs against Police, who are a Premier Two
"We will take one match at a time," added Subramaniam.

One-goal lead not much consolation for Malay Mail (The Malay Mail)

YOU can bet that the climax will be nail-biting. And whoever prevail are
likely to do so by the skin of their teeth.
That is as close as it can get when Kuala Lumpur Malay Mail defend their
one-goal lead against Police in their FA Cup second leg first round clash
at the Merdeka Stadium tonight.
Malay Mail, who won the first leg 2-1 at the KLFA stadium a fortnight
ago, will face an armed and dangerous army of cops firing on all
For that, the newspaper team know they will have to do more than just
hold on to their slim advantage.
"We are still treading on very dangerous ground and we have no choice
but to start the match as if the score is even," said Malay Mail coach R.
"Police are one of the most aggressive teams and they will stop at
nothing to win the match."
Both teams are entering the field shrouded in an aura of mystique. Malay
Mail, who started with a defensive game in the first match, have left the
observers guessing about their game plan tonight.
Their goalkeeper, M. Pavalamani, is still recovering from a high fever
and looks a doubtful starter. Robert Maniam, who scored the winner after
coming on as a substitute in the first match, is still not a certain first
choice feature. Former international midfielder S. Balachandran is still
nursing a knee injury.
Police have left their opponents wondering what is under their sleeves.
They did not field three of their key players in the first tie - Ghanaian
striker Mast Opuene Onyanabo, Nigerian defender Theophillus Amoo and local
hitman Darul Nazri Daniyan. It remains to be seen whether the trio will
take the field tonight.
Subramaniam said Police will be more fired up after their 6-1 thrashing
by Armed Forces in a Premier Two match last week.
"Even if they field many of their reserves, it won't be easy for us.
Their new players are all eager to prove themselves and will play their
hearts out to help their team win," he said.
Malay Mail have an attractive cast of former national and KL players to
chart their fortunes in their first FA Cup outing.
Apart from Balachandran and Pavalamani, T. Gopinath Naidu, a former
Olympic squad player, has the quality stuff to elevate the team.
The midfield looks a classy department with former Perlis schemer N.
Suresh combining well with Balachandran and Gopinath to run the engine
room. The three have the task of outmanoeuvring the Police middle line,
manned by Moroccan El Mustafa Azour.
Australian Taso Notaras, into his third season with Malay Mail and has
played for Perth-based club Floreat Athena in the Australian League,
provides the safety touches at the backline.
If Malay Mail succeed in eliminating Police tonight, they will go on to
meet Chow Kwai Lam's KL in the second round.