Former Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak (second right) seen here with his ex-players last season. - Filepic
PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Bojan Hodak still has a soft spot for his former team Kelantan.
And as fate has it, the Croatian is again “reunited” with Kelantan in the Malaysia Cup when the draw was made last Sunday.
Hodak’s JDT and Kelantan are in tough Group C with Armed Forces and Penang. The competition will begin on Aug 13.
“It’s the luck of the draw to be in the same group. But I hope both JDT and Kelantan will finish top two in the group and then meet again in the final,” said Hodak, who guided the Red Warriors to the M-League treble of Super League, Malaysia Cup and FA Cup in 2012 and the FA Cup in 2013.
Hodak, however, believes it will be a folly to under-estimate Forces and Penang.
“We are in the Group of Death ... Forces are the dark-horses while Penang are going through a resurgence and are capable of creating an upset at home,” said Hodak.
“Last season, Kelantan knocked out JDT 8-5 on aggregate in the quarter-finals when I was the coach. It will be a bittersweet moment for me this time and I expect another exciting match again,” he added.
The 43-year-old Hodak joined JDT in April this year and guided the Johor club side to their first-ever Super League title last month.
“We have a big and balanced squad and I believe it will be advantageous for us as the fixtures are quite tight.
“This is the Malaysian way ... There is nothing to complain about as every team have to go through the same situation,” said Hodak.
“Having won the Super League, our fans are expecting us to win the Malaysia Cup. But I think the pressure is greater for teams like Pahang and Selangor. Pahang are under tremendous pressure to defend the title while Selangor have been trophy-less for a few seasons,” added Hodak.