Mohd Badhri Radzi (left) is looking forward to linking up with Egyptian midfielder Mohammed Shawky and Liberian forward Francis Doe in Kelantan's match against South China of Hong Kong.
GEORGE TOWN: Kelantan captain Mohd Badhri Radzi believes last weekend’s Super League away win over Lions XII was the perfect tonic for the Red Warriors ahead of their AFC Cup Group G clash against South China FC of Hong Kong in Kota Baru.
Kelantan badly want to put the points on the board in their AFC Cup campaign following the 5-3 opening day defeat to Myanmar’s Yangon United last week. Badhri, who scored twice in Yangon, feels that the 2-1 win over the reigning Super League champions in Singapore was a perfect morale booster before taking on South China on Wednesday.
“Everybody was feeling down on the way back from Yangon as we scored three goals but still ended up on the losing side,” said Badhri on Tuesday.
“But we picked ourselves up and beat Lions XII on their artificial pitch, which was no easy feat, in Singapore. The players’ morale is on a high after the win and it will be great if we can display the same confidence and fighting spirit to beat South China.”
The 32-year-old central midfielder admitted that he does not know much about the South China team, but is confident that Kelantan coach Steve Darby will come up with a winning plan.
Kelantan have good reason to be wary of South China as the Red Warriors were bundled out of last year’s AFC Cup in the last 16 by another Hong Kong team, Kitchee FC.
South China also have their backs against the wall after losing their first Group G match 3-1 at home to Vietnam’s Vissai Ninh Binh.
“This is the first time that I will be playing South China and I don’t know much about their line-up. But I know that they are regulars in the AFC Cup tournament and will handle the pressure of playing in a foreign country well.
“This is not a major concern for the Kelantan players as our coach (Darby) will guide us on what to expect and how to beat them.”
Badhri is again looking forward to linking up with Egyptian midfielder Mohammed Shawky and Liberian forward Francis Doe, who scored the late winner against Lions XII, to unlock the Hong Kong side’s defence.
Two key players absent for Kelantan on Wednesday night are midfielder Ahmad Shakir Ali, who is suspended after being sent off in Yangon, and Lebanese striker Mohammed Ghaddar, who is nursing a groin injury.
Said Badhri: “We will miss Ghaddar’s presence upfront, but Francis has proven to be a lethal finisher as well. My understanding with Shawky has improved since his belated debut after injury and I am looking forward to linking up with him again tomorrow. It does not matter who scores the goals for Kelantan as long as we get our first three points in the AFC Cup.”