Wednesday, March 13, 1996

Ahmad the model player (The Malay Mail)

AFTER 13 seasons Ahmad Yusof is still going strong.
Ahmad, who turns 36 on August 8, hails from Penang but has been with
Pahang since 1983 - the year Pahang won the Malaysia Cup the first time.
His teammates then - Tajuddin Nor and Yunus Alif - are now the team
manager and coach for Pahang respectively but Ahmad is still sluging it
out on the pitch.
Ahmad is an model professional and the game still excites him after all
these years.
Even a chronic back injury the last few years has not stopped Ahmad.
He is Pahang's most valuable player and a modest one at that.
Each time he is approached for an interview, Ahmad would politely turns
it down and requests the younger players be interviewed instead.
"I am just a small piece in the puzzle trying to do the best I can. But
it gets harder each year," said Ahmad.
"Last season, many teams were still affected by the absence key players
rounded up during the bribery crackdown.
"But teams are more settled and stronger now. It is going to be a keen
competition this time around," said Ahmad who is the oldest player in the
League after Sarawak's Jalil Rambly.
Ahmad used to play in midfield but of late he has been used as a stopper
or sweeper.
"Ahmad may be the oldest but he is the heartbeat of the team," said

Wednesday, March 6, 1996

Bala back in business (The Malay Mail)

MIDFIELDER S. Balachandran returns to the Kuala Lumpur M-League team after
two seasons.
Balachandran, who turned 31 on Feb 26, is the only remaining member of
the squad that won the Malaysia Cup three consecutive years from 1987-
Balachandran, who made his debut with KL in 1987, served them for seven
years before playing for Sabah for a season.
Last season, he returned to KL but could not find a place and ended up
playing in the Amatuer League for City Hall SC.

But things have changed for Balachandran this season.
He will play a key role in coach Chow Kwai Lam's plans.
Kwai Lam is counting on him to lead the young squad.
The only other senior players in the team are R. Ramachandran and L.
Suresh who are in their fourth season with KL. Azrul Amri Burhan is
playing his second for them.
Balachandran is delighted to play in the M-league again.
"It was quite frustrating for me last season," he said.
"I am glad I kept on fighting to play in the M-league. Now, all of
sudden, I am the most experienced player in the team.
"It does put some pressure on me but I will take it as a challenge.
"We may have a young side but we have a good first team.
"My only worry is our reserves. They lack exposure and that could be
problem in the M-League.
"But at least the youngsters in the first 11 will be gaining exposure as
they play," said Balachandran.
Balachandran, who is known for his ball skills, is confident KL will
spring some surprises during the season.
"Our target is to make the Malaysia Cup competition and the players are
all determined to achieve it.
"It is going to be tough but I believe we have what it takes to stay
afloat and meet our target.
"Personally, it is going to be a challenge for me to lead this young
team and I am looking forward to it."