The ‘grooming’ period is over and now Perak coach Azraai Khor Abdullah is ready to unleash six President’s Cuppers into the Malaysia Cup fray.
The former Kedah and Negri Sembilan coach, who has a knack of turning young football talents into ‘stars’ believes any of the six could make it big in their football career.
The six are strikers Khairul Asraf and R. Mugenthiran, midfielder Mohd Norhakim Isa and defenders Mohd Syamil Khairi, Rafiq Faeez and Amirul Azahan Aznan.
“They have gone through the mill. Thanks to the spate of injuries that hit the senior players during the League and FA Cup competitions, I gave them the chance to show their stuff at a higher level,” Azraai told sports247.my.
“They did not fail me although we went through a roller coaster ride in the league as we struggled to cope without the injured seniors in the team.
“But it was a blessing in disguise in some ways, allowing me to throw the young talents into the fray against the top teams in the Super League. They progressed with each match.
“The invaluable experience they gained will come in handy. Now is the time for the President’s Cuppers to push up another gear and make their presence felt in the Malaysia Cup. Playing in the league and the Malaysia Cup are two different levels altogether.
“The Malaysia Cup is the country’s premier football tournament and very competitive. No team can be underrated and you will have to show your real football stuff. This is the perfect launching pad for these players to build their football career on.
“I am confident they will be able to hold their own in the competitiom.”
Azraai is also banking on his injured stalwarts who have recovered from their injuries and are ready to do battle in the Malaysia Cup.
Among the seniors who are back from injuries are rightback V. Thirumurugan (hamstring), right flanker S. Chanturu (torn right thigh muscle), midfielder Nasir Basharuddin (fractured leg) and striker Azlan Ismail (ACL surgery).
Azlan’s return will add more bite to the Perak strikeforce as he has scored three goals since making his comeback to competitive football towards the tail end of the league competition.
During the Ramadhan month, Perak train from 10pm to 12 midnight and Azraai is pleased with the commitment shown by his charges.
Original article at Sports247.