PETALING JAYA: The AirAsia Football Club want to emulate the feat of English Premier League (EPL) side Leicester.
The FAM Cup side, under coach Nizam Jamil, have promised to give everything they have in Friday’s FA Cup second-round match against fancied Selangor at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi.
“In football, there’s always an element of surprise – the upset stories, the giant-killers and the lesser known teams proving the critics wrong.
“We take our motivation from EPL leaders Leicester. Although they have no big stars, they’ve continued to put the bigger clubs to shame,” said Nizam.
“We may be only a Third Division team, but take nothing away from my players ... we are fighters and we’ll definitely give Selangor a run for their money.”
Leicester, who survived relegation from the EPL last season, have defied the odds to lead the standings – ahead of the big guns like Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.
Nizam also said that his team do not fear the Red Giants, who won the Malaysia Cup for a record 33rd time last season.
“Football is an 11 versus 11 game ... anything can happen in 90 minutes. The experience of playing against a seeded team will benefit my players ... we have nothing to lose from this game,” he said.
“The only advantage for the Premier League and Super League teams have is their foreign players.”
The FAM Cup teams are not allowed to hire imports.
Nizam said their target in the FAM Cup is to win promotion to the Premier League next season.
AirAsia FC have hired some seasoned hands, like midfielders Mohd Khyril Muhymeen (Kedah), Reeshafiq Alwi (Malacca); strikers Mohd Zamri Hassan (Malacca), Zamri Morshidi (Sarawak); and goalkeeper Syamsuri Mustaffa (Terengganu).
Selangor had better take heed of AirAsia FC’s threat as the club side enjoyed a good run in the pre-season, including pulling off a surprise 6-3 win over Super League side Police.
In other pre-season matches, they lost 2-1 to Kelantan, Felda United and Sime Darby FC.