Former Sarawak coach Awang Mahyan said the East Malaysian side have a shot to upset Pahang if they can get an early goal – preferably in the opening 15 minutes – in the return-leg of their Malaysia Cup semi-finals in Kuching on Saturday.
He believes that an early goal would lift the players’ and supporters’ spirit.
“Sarawak must go for an early goal or Pahang will gain confidence and beat us,” said Mahyan, who was the state football coach from 1988 to 1990.
Mahyan, who led Sarawak to their first Malaysia Cup semi-final in 1989, warned the Crocs to bolster their defence.
“There is not much separating the two teams. Sarawak have done well to reach the semi-finals and I think this is the best time for them to go on and win the Cup. The fans have been waiting for far too long for the state team to win the Malaysia Cup,” said Mahyan.
He said the return of Ronny Harun and Joseph Kalang Tie would help strengthen the team’s defence and midfield respectively. Ronny is back from a knee injury while Joseph has served his one-game suspension.
“With Joseph in midfield with Guy (Bwele) and Junior (Eldstar) or Shahrol (Saperi), they should be able to provide more opportunities for Muamer Salibasic and Bobby (Gonzales) to get the goals,” said Mahyan.
He also urged the Crocs not to fear the Elephants, saying “it’s Pahang who will be nervous in front of the Ngap Sayot fans”.
Mahyan even suggested playing mind games on Pahang by releasing a black cat onto the field before the start of the match. This he believes could have a psychological effect on the Pahang players.
The last time Sarawak played in the Malaysia Cup semi-final in Kuching – against Kedah in 1988 – Mahyan did the same thing. The match, however, was called off due to crowd trouble.