PETALING JAYA: It is not exactly the ideal preparation for cash-strapped Kedah for their Super League restart against Police at the Cheras Football Stadium tonight.
The Kedah management have yet to settle their players’ wage arrears and their tight budget saw them play only two friendlies before the M-League resumed on Aug 22 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And the increase in Covid-19 cases in Kedah, which saw a part of Sungai Petani (Amanjaya) placed under enhanced movement control order on Thursday, didn’t help their cause.
Several players, including skipper Baddrol Bakhtiar and assistant coach Victor Andrag, are from the area.
Kedah coach Aidil Sharin is taking all the challenges in his stride.
“To be honest, we were worried about the Covid-19 situation in Sungai Petani as we have several players from there. Baddrol, Keon (Khairul Helmi Johari) and even our assistant coach Victor are from that part of the town,” said Aidil.
“We managed to get the clearance from the authorities and we have taken all the necessary precautions before our travel to Kuala Lumpur for the Police match.
“The players are surely concerned with what has been happening at home but they are all matured and experienced enough to play their best in the match.
“I hope the players can give 100% in the game although we did not have the best of preparations. Most teams played five friendly matches but we only had two... but as a coach, my target is the same which is to find a way to win matches.”
The Red Eagles’ two friendlies saw them suffer a 1-2 loss to Premier League side Perak II on Aug 8. They bounced back to beat another Premier League outfit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) 3-1 on Aug 10.
Kedah, the FA Cup holders, are currently placed eighth in the 12-team Super League standings with four points from four matches from a win, two defeats and a draw.
Aidil said although his side are the favourites to get the full points against relegation battlers Police, they would not underestimate them.
He pointed out that the men in blue came close to stealing a point from league leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), who won 1-0 in March.
“It’s not going to be easy. We need to focus for 90 minutes. Police played well against JDT and we can expect a tough game,” said Aidil.
“We know Police will sit deep to defend and then counter attack but our midfielders know how to handle the situation.”
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