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Thursday August 11, 2011
By ERIC SAMUEL
PETALING JAYA: Defending champions Kelantan have signed up Pahang strikers R. Surendren and Azamuddin Mohd Akil on loan for their Malaysia Cup campaign next month.
The Red Warriors have strengthened their strikeforce after banking heavily on lone striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha since the season kicked off in January.
Coach Datuk M. Karathu said the duo’s presence would ease the pressure on Norshahrul, who is their top striker in the Super League with 19 goals this season.
“Norshahrul is recovering from a hamstring injury and only resumed training with the team three days ago. We have depended a lot on Norshahrul and we hope Surendren and Azamuddin will give the team more options in attack,” said Karathu from Kota Baru yesterday.
The back-up strikers in the Kelantan squad are Mohd Khalid Jamlus, Mohd Nizad Ayub and Ramzul Zahini Adenan.
Young striker Mohd Izuan Solahuddin is in Slovakia with the the national Under-23 squad, who are preparing for the Asian Zone Olympic qualifying rounds next month.
Kelantan, also known as the Red Warriors, are gunning for the treble after winning the Charity Shield and the Super League titles this year.
They can now boast of more depth in the team, especially with Surendren’s experience in attack.
“We need quality in attack and with Surendren’s vast experience we should have more bite upfront,” said Karathu.
Prior to his move to Pahang, Surendren played a key role in the Red Giants’ treble success – winning the Charity Shield, FA Cup and Super League titles – in 2009. Last year, he bagged more than a dozen goals for Selangor and also scored the winner in their 2-1 win over Negri Sembilan in the Charity Shield match.
This year, the 27-year-old Surendren managed only four goals for Pahang.
Surendren and Azamuddin were made available to Kelantan after Pahang lost to Sime Darby FC 0-6 on aggregate in the playoffs for a berth in the 16-team Malaysia Cup competition.
Pahang have also been relegated to the Premier League next season.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat will miss Kelantan’s opening four matches because of his commitment with the national Under-23 squad in the Asian Zone Olympic qualifying round matches next month. He will be replaced by Mohd Shahrizam Ismail.
Kelantan, who are drawn with Johor FC, Felda United and Sarawak in Group C, will play a series of friendly matches against Kuala Lumpur (Aug 14), Selangor (Aug 17) and Police (Aug 18).
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