PETALING JAYA: Like Thailand, Cambodia is also known as the Land of Smiles. And Kedah coach Aidil Sharin came home with his team, obviously, with a big smile on his face.
He was pleased with how his men fared in their tour of the country. The Red Eagles kicked off the tour in Phnom Penh with a 1-0 win over Visakha (Jan 7), lost 2-3 to Nagaworld (Jan 9), beat Boeung Ket Angkor 4-1 (Jan 10) and managed a 1-0 win over Angkor Tiger (Jan 12) before edging Phnom Penh Crown 2-1 (Jan 14) to emerge champions in the pre-season friendly tournament.
Kedah scored 10 goals from five matches thanks to strikes from former international Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak and Kpah Sherman who scored three goals each while Hadin Azman and Kipre Tchetche bagged two goals in the tour.
Aidil was using the tour to prepare the team for their all-important Asian Champions League (ACL) preliminary round match against Tai Po of Hong Kong on Jan 21.
“We got what we were looking for during the tour and now we have the momentum before the match against Tai Po, ” said the Singaporean coach.
“We had good intensity in the tour, the players and the team were tested well in Cambodia.
“I’m not only happy with the results but also the way the players conducted themselves, on and off the pitch.
“We managed to execute whatever we planned to do in training, so I see this as a big plus.”
Expectations are mounting for the FA Cup champions to challenge for the Super League title after they finished fourth in the 12-team standings last season but Aidil pointed out that Super League frontrunners like champions Johor Darul Ta’zim, Selangor, Terengganu, and Melaka have all strengthened their squads.
“We need to keep on fighting for the new season... other teams are also improving from last season. On paper, everyone is preparing well for the new season by signing quality players and with pre-season tours, ” said the 42-year-old.
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