IT may sound like a daunting task if the pre-season target set by the management of the PBAPP FC is to be used as a yardstick.
With the Waterboys having done enough to live up to the expectations of their team management, who had ordered a top four finish in their FAM Cup debut last year, the target has gone up a notch this season — lift the FAM Cup.
PBAPP FC coach Zabidi Hassan, who is into his second season charting his Waterboys’ football fortunes, however, is ready to take up the challenge.
“I must admit that it looks intimidating for me and my players. But if what we had to show during our pre-season build-up and the way the players have responded to our preparations, I cannot deny that it has got me believing as well.
“Our impressive show in our FA Cup opener against Cambodian club side Preach Khan Reach has re-affirmed my belief that we are ready to complete our dream of FAM Cup glory,” said Zabidi.
PBAPP FC have retained their regulars from last year’s squad, with senior players like national goalkeeper Megat Amir Faizal, Zulhissyam Jamaluddin and former Penang skipper Mat Saiful.
Zabidi has also rectified the weaknesses spotted in their campaign last year, by bringing in players from other states.
They are Khairol Anas, Elpie Ryyaz (both Perlis), Wan Asyraf (Kedah), Mohd Khalis (Perak), Khairzul Azri, Hasrul Abu Bakar (Penang Panthers), S. Kugen (Sinar Di Majar), Mohd Ikram (Sime Darby) and Mohd Aizat (Johor).
With his charges all fired up, Zabidi embarked on his preparations which included motivation camps, field training, gym work and a series of warm-up matches including a playing tour of South Thailand.
However, Zabidi is not taking anything for granted and had been working overtime, just to fine-tune his charges before they start their League campaign next month.
“What matters now is to get our campaign off on a sure footing. Anything less than that could easily derail our objectives,” acknowledged Zabidi.
Team manager Jamil Mohd Noor, who is also looking forward to a successful season, echoed Zabidi’s views.
“We may have improved a ton but it’s not going to be easy to realise our Cup and promotion dreams.
“With teams like Pahang’s Shahzan Muda, our own Penang Panthers or even FAM Cup debutant Kedah Malays, the going will only get tougher,” said Jamil.