IT’S good news for the Kedah President’s Cup team. Their ace striker, Hattaphon Bun An, is eligible to play in their second-leg quarter final match against Terengganu today at the Darul-aman Stadium in Alor Setar.
Hattaphon was earlier considered a non-starter for two consecutive matches after picking up his sixth yellow card on July 1 during the first leg quarter-final match against Selangor at the Darulaman Stadium.
He sat out the following match, also against Selangor, in the return leg on Monday in which both teams drew 1-1.
Kedah’s next match is against Terengganu today and team officials had originally ruled out Hattaphon. However, they received the good news upon returning from Selangor that he is eligible to play.
Kedah FA technical officer Jamil Che Mat said the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) competition committee clarified that the three yellow cards which Hattaphon collected during the preliminary round matches would not be carried forward into the second round.
Ace player: Kedah's leading striker Hattaphon Bun An (right) watches his strike beating Johor FC goalkeeper Mohd Fareez Nasiran for Kedah's winning goal in the first leg second round President's Cup match at the Darulaman Stadium.
“As such he started afresh in the second round and needs to serve only a one match suspension for collecting three yellow cards,” Jamil said.
Under the President’s Cup rule, a player is suspended for a match if he picks up three yellow cards and for two more matches if he gets another three cards.
Hattaphon, who had scored 17 goals so far this season, had sat out a match in the preliminary round after getting the first three cards.
The rules, however, change in the semifinal stage when a player have to sit out a match if he picks up two yellow cards.
The good news was greeted gleefully by coach Feisol Abdul Razak.
“We dearly missed him against Selangor. It will be a big boost for the team to have Hattaphon in the line-up when we take on Terengganu at home.
“We need to perform well to keep our unbeaten record intact,” Feisol said.
Kedah’s lead in their group table has been sliced to just one point over second-placed Johor FC who scored a 2-0 win against Terengganu on July 5.
Kedah have eight points from four matches while Johor FC have seven points from as many matches. Kedah will play Johor FC (away) on Monday to complete the second round quarter-final fixtures. The top two teams will qualify for the semi-finals.