PETALING JAYA: Club side MK Land are have a bright chance of joining Group A favourites Pahang into the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.
Super League champions Pahang are tipped to top the group but the second berth will be a keen tussle between MK Land and fellow Premier League club PKNS and demoted Kedah in the competition beginning Aug 25.
Both Kedah and PKNS look shaky at the moment and MK Land, who finished second to promoted Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MPPJ) in Group A of the just-ended Premier League, have the momentum to upstage the odds.
Once formidable Kedah are enduring a terrible season that saw them finish last in the Super League.
They were also knocked out in the second round of the FA Cup after losing 6-9 on aggregate to MPPJ in April.
On the other hand, PKNS sacked their coach Mohamed Zaki Sheikh Ahmad on Saturday and assistant coach Mohamed Adam Abdullah will handle the team for the Malaysia Cup. Collecting just one point in their last three Premier League matches contributed to Zaki's sacking.
Morale in MK Land, formed just two years ago, is high especially after the announcement that the RM50,000 in prize money for finishing second in their Premier League group will be distributed among the players.
MK Land team manager Michael Palani said: “Our initial target was a top-four finish in the Premier League in order to qualify for the Malaysia Cup. Finishing second in Group B was a bonus for the team.
“We always take things one step at a time but our next target is to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup.”
Michael said the team management realised that the team depended too much on the foreign players.
This season, the three foreign players hired by MK Land were St Kitts and Nevis striker Marlon James and Nigerian defenders Uchenna Godwin Eze and Agu Ndubushi.
“The team performs badly when these players are not available because we don't have enough depth in the local players. So we have acquired three local players on loan for the Malaysia Cup competition,” said Michael.
The trio are Kelantan's Mohd Faizal Maliki, a striker and Mohd Zaidi bin Mat Ail, a centre back, and experienced Selangor midfielder Jaafar Salleh.
“It will be an uphill battle against Pahang but we believe we have an equal chance against Kedah and PKNS,” added Michael.
MK Land will open their Malaysia Cup campaign against Kedah on Aug 25.