Kedah striker Kpah Sherman has warned his teammates against underestimating Hong Kong’s Tai Po in the second preliminary round of the AFC Champions League (ACL) qualification at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar tonight.
A win over Tai Po will see Kedah setting up a match against Seoul FC of South Korea in the final preliminary round on Jan 28. If they win again, they will be assured of a berth in the ACL group stage.
FA Cup champions Kedah ended their Super League campaign unbeaten at home last season and had a positive tour of Cambodia, emerging as champions in the pre-season friendly tournament last week.
However, Tai Po are in the midst of their ongoing season and have three naturalised players and six imports in their squad.
Tai Po, nicknamed the Green Warriors, also have their players fresh as Serbian coach Davor Berber opted to rest his key players in their last league match to keep them fresh for the clash against the Red Eagles.
Sherman who was the Super League’s Golden Boot winner with 14 goals said his team’s unity will be the key for a home win.
“It’s my first year here and the unity in this team has been amazing. With this, we can do a lot … we have a good team and we have the character … we will fight to do great things for Kedah,” said the Liberian international in the pre-match press conference.
“I’m very confident. In football, you can’t look down on the opponent … but I have confidence in the players, coaching staff and the fans as well … we want the fans to come and support us because the whole team is going to fight. We need their support.”
Kedah coach Aidil Sharin said the team’s tour of Cambodia has prepared his men well for the Tai Po match.
“We expect a tough game, both teams are looking for a win … our only advantage is playing at home but that doesn’t mean it will be easy. We will have to work hard and the players will be giving their 100%,” said the Singaporean coach.
“Our strength is our team spirit, the bonding we had in the pre-season tour has galvanised the team,” he said.
Meanwhile, Berber said his team have studied Kedah well and are not going to be intimidated by the sell-out crowd at the Darulaman Stadium.
“Our target is to try to show what we can do, we are hoping that we will be the team which will be celebrating in the end. We are ready and we have a lot of information about Kedah … we did our homework,” said Berber.
“Kedah are a big club in Malaysia and we are also a big club in Hong Kong, we are not afraid of anything, we know the stadium will be full but it will give us more pleasure to play and show Hong Kong football in a good light.”
“Our target is to advance to the next round so last Saturday we rested a lot of players for this match … All 20-players are ready to play, we targetted this game so we made sure all the players will be injury-free for this game.”