Police trying to control the crowd at the Super League match between Johor Darul Ta'zim and Pahang on Feb 7, 2014. Kedah manager Datuk Jeffrey Low is concerned about the welfare of the Kedah supporters who will be at the Larkin Stadium on Feb 11, 2014, for their FA Cup match against JDT.
GEORGE TOWN: Kedah team manager Datuk Jeffrey Low believes that his squad’s safety will not be an issue for Tuesday’s FA Cup quarter-final first leg tie against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at the Larkin Stadium.
However, he is deeply concerned about the welfare of the Kedah supporters making the long trip south to cheer on the Red Eagles.
Kedah are the first team to play against JDT in Larkin since T-Team refused to take the field after half-time of the FA Cup second-round match on Feb 1.
The Titans had cited fear for their safety as the main reason not to continue, following a fracas in the tunnel during half-time. The incident is still under investigation by the police and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
“I have full confidence in the match organisers and the home team to provide adequate security for the Kedah players and officials. They would have learnt from the T-Team episode and taken precautions to prevent another similar incident happening tomorrow,” said Jeffrey on Monday.
“I am more concerned about the sizable contingent of Kedah fans travelling to Johor. At present, the tension is high in matches involving JDT, and I am worried that provocation from either set of fans could spark off untoward incidents.”
There were incidents of both sets of supporters taunting each other during and after JDT’s Super League match against Pahang in Kuantan on Friday. A bus ferrying the visiting fans was also pelted with stones outside the stadium.
On the quarter-final itself, Jeffrey describes taking on JDT in their own den as Kedah’s first real test of the season.
The Kedah team, coached by Scotsman David Mitchell, have been going great guns in the Premier League, having defeated Perlis 4-1 and DRB-Hicom 2-0 in their opening two games.
In the FA Cup, the Red Eagles downed FAM Cup side Kuala Lumpur and Perlis by identical 4-0 scorelines to march into the last eight.
“Since the start of the season, we have had an easy ride against weaker opponents. This will be our toughest challenge and playing JDT will show how good we really are,” said the team manager.
“JDT have the strongest line-up in the country, and their foreign imports Pablo Aimar and Luciano Figueroa are the players to watch out for. It will be good for Kedah to return from Johor with at least a draw for the return leg in Alor Setar (on Feb 18).”
Kedah will be banking on their Irish striker Billy Mehmet and national forward Khyril Muhymeen upfront to get the goals tonight in Larkin.