GEORGE TOWN: Kedah coach Tan Cheng Hoe (pic) is not pleased to be missing his Chinese New Year family reunion dinner this year.
And he will be more upset if the Red Eagles fail to collect three points against Sarawak at the Darulaman Stadium today.
With the second round of the Super League fixtures scheduled for the Chinese New Year eve tonight, the Malaysia-Cup winning coach will forego his family’s annual gathering at his parents’ house in Alor Setar.
“As far as I can remember, this is the first time I will skip the new year reunion dinner,” said Cheng Hoe.
“Luckily, my family, especially my parents, understand that my duty with Kedah comes first. The plus point is that we’re playing in Alor Setar ... so, I can join up with my family immediately after the match.”
The Malaysia Cup champions, who picked up a point from their 1-1 draw away to Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) before clinching the Charity Shield with a 5-4 penalty shootout win, will start as favourites in their first home game of the season.
But Cheng Hoe doesn’t want his players to underestimate the Crocs.
“We made a good start by winning the Charity Shield and earning a point in Johor. We need to keep the momentum going by making use of home advantage and go for the three points,” said the Kedah coach.
“We cannot take it for granted that we will beat Sarawak just because we are the home side. They have a younger and more motivated squad compared to last year. The Sarawak players showed plenty of desire to fight for a point in their away draw against T-Team (last Saturday).”
Kedah followed up their encounter against defending Super League champions JDT last Friday by playing a friendly against Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune FC at the Shah Alam Stadium on Monday.
The Malaysia Cup champions lost 4-2 to the Chinese side, featuring ex-Paris St Germain star Ezequiel Lavezzi and helmed by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
The tough matches against JDT and Hebei took their toll on several Kedah players, with Syawal Nordin, Syazwan Zainon, Halim Saari and Syafiq Ahmad all injured and unlikely to feature against Sarawak.
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