PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur coach Bojan Hodak let out a tongue-in-cheek remark claiming that striker Ryan Lambert’s hattrick against Sarawak in the Super League match on Wednesday was probably inspired by the desire to don Harimau Malaya’s colours.
On Wednesday, Hodak was fuming as Ryan’s twin brother Declan was only used for 10 minutes while playmaker Zhafri Yahya warmed the bench during the King’s Cup in Bangkok last week.
Kim Pan-gon’s side finished runners-up to Tajikistan after losing 3-0 on penalties after a goalless draw at regulation time on Sunday.
Due to the international duty, Declan and Zhafri missed the clash against Penang where KL lost 1-0 away on Saturday but played in the big 5-0 win over Sarawak at home.
“Maybe he (Ryan) was hungry more because brother (Declan) got the first call-up, he also want to have (national) call-up. But unfortunately he has to wait for FIFA days (fixtures),” said a cheeky Hodak.
Hodak was livid as Pan-gon, who insisted that his 24-men national squad stayed intact, had taken the duo all the way to Chiang Mai for one of them to have just 10 minutes of playing time.
The Croatian had initially made a request to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to release the duo for the Super League matches and KL were also in the midst of preparing for the AFC Cup Inter-Zone final against Uzbekistan club PFC Sogdiana at the Sogdiana Stadium on Oct 5.
However, Hodak had toned down a little after KL’s huge win.
“The last two matches, nothing was going into the net but today (Wednesday), everything went, so this is the difference. Some things happen for a reason. Maybe it was good that we lost in Penang,” added Hodak.
“The match was much, much more different. Zhafri was alright but with Declan, I’m not happy. I think he can do much better.
“A top result and it’s good confidence before Uzbekistan. But they are a better team and with weather being cold and dry compared to Malaysia, it will be a tough match. After a lot issues, this game gives us a lot of confidence.”
However, Hodak fired a final salvo at Pan-gon.
“We asked to release them for the most important game for the club, I don’t know for how many years – except for JDT (Johor Darul Ta’zim), nobody has gone far,” explained Hodak.
“The national coach brought two players for a friendly and hardly used them. I don’t know if these guys (Declan and Zhafri) will be well prepared for Uzbekistan.
“This is the reason I was complaining,”
“It has got nothing to do against FAM and MFL (Malaysian Football League) because they try to improve the fixtures so that the league finishes on time.
“It comes down to one person. It is the respect between coaches. He didn’t show respect, why should I show respect.
“If somebody is not nice to you, why should I be nice to him?”