KUALA LUMPUR – Several Malaysia League (M-League) coaches are surprised with the Malaysian Football League’s (MFL) decision to cancel this season’s Malaysia Cup competition, saying it would come as a shock to most football fans in the country.
Kuala Lumpur head coach Mohd Nidzam Adzha Yusoff said he still couldn’t believe that the competition has been cancelled as his squad had made detailed preparations for their quarter-final clash against defending champions Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) scheduled for this week.
“Since becoming a coach in 2005, I think this (Malaysia Cup cancellation) is the most bitter experience I’ve had… it feels like everyone is disappointed with what has happened,” he said in a statement issued by the MFL yesterday.
“My only one hope is that in 2021 all football competitions will return to normal and be played in front of spectators,” said Mohd Nidzam, who helped Kuala Lumpur qualify for the Super League next season after emerging Premier League runner-ups to Penang this season.
Perak head coach Mehmet Durakovic was also shocked to learn of the cancellation of the country’s oldest football competition, but he accepted that the decision was taken in the interest of public health in the country, which is still batling the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Malaysia Cup is the most prestigious competition in Malaysia, and the oldest in the South-East Asia, and there is a lot of history linked to this competition,” said the Australian-born coach.
The Malaysia Cup is no stranger to Durakovic, having lifted the coveted trophy three straight times when he played for Selangor from 1995 to 1997. He also coached Perak when they emerged as runners-up in 2018.
The MFL board of directors special meeting Nov 12 decided to cancel the remaining matches of the Malaysia Cup competition after their appeal to continue with it was rejected by the National Security Council (MKN) yesterday.
MFL chief executive officer Datuk Ab Ghani Hassan announced in a statement that they would abide by the government’s decision to stop the competition throughout the enforcement of the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).
The MFL had, on Tuesday, submitted an official appeal to the MKN to continue the remaining Malaysia Cup matches this season with tightened standard operating procedures, including having self-quarantined matches at areas where the CMCO is not enforced.
The MFL suggested that the Sultan Mohamad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu, Kelantan and the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan, Pahang be used as neutral venues for the quarter-final and semi-finals matches.
The Malaysia Cup quarter-finals would have seen defending champions JDT taking on Kuala Lumpur; Penang facing UiTM FC; Terengganu FC meeting Perak and Kedah going up against 33-time champions Selangor.
The first round of the Malaysia Cup competition took place between Nov 6 and Nov 8 while the quarter-finals were scheduled for Nov 12 and Nov 13, the semi-finals (Nov 17) and the final on Nov 22.