Azraai: I will never forget Negri

While incoming Perak coach Azraai Khor reveals he is excited at the challenge that lies ahead, he admits he will never forget his time in charge of Negri Sembilan.

Azraai Khor thumbs up

By Gabriel Tan

The coach known as "the man in pink" for his flamboyantly-coloured shirts, which he believes bring him luck, announced on Saturday that he will not be renewing his contract with Negri Sembilan Football Association (PBNS).

And it was confirmed on Monday he will now be taking over Seladang, something which greatly excites him, as he revealed to ESPNSTAR.com.

 "I met with the Perak management last night [Monday]," Azraai said.

"I am impressed with the idea of developing youth and thankfully, my record with young players has been good. I am excited with our new ideology."

"Perak are the defending President's Cup Champions [Under-21 youth tournament], the Youth Cup champions [Under-19 tournament], and the SUKMA [Malaysian Youth Games] finalists."

"I suggested that we continue the same structure as when I was in Kedah when we developed successful players like Khyril Muhymeen and Sabre Mat Abu." said Azraai of his golden touch with Kedah where they won the treble consisting of the Malaysia Cup, the FA Cup and the Super League - twice.

"Their youth development is fantastic and I am confident of their ability. I want to build a new philosophy and work towards a new era with Perak."

The 57-year-old coach's sadness however was evident when he recalled his stint with the 2011 Malaysia Cup Champions, a place he admits he will always keep close to his heart.

"I cannot forget Negri Sembilan however," he added.

" I am very close with the fans and it's an ideology that I try and uphold. A coach is nothing with his players and the club is nothing without its fans."

"I am blessed to have had the chance to get closer with the Negri fans. There were fans who called me even last night, crying. I am extremely touched." Azraai said, his voice cracking with emotion.

"I remember reporting in Seremban for my first day. I was invited by the Ultras and brought around town in their car before they surprised me at their place, tables joined and chanting in formation, welcoming me to their family.

"A week later, N9futbol [a Negri fan group] organized a welcoming ceremony at the Spanish Villa where we had our question-and-answer session. I make it a point to go to any of the events I'm invited to, weddings, processions and the like. I made many good friends there.

"But at the same time I needed to face new challenges, to change my perspective. It's normal for a coach." Azraai said, focusing on his new mission.

"Perak are planning to bring in new players. I am excited with their plans. My discussions with them have been extremely smooth. A reshuffle of their management also brings a fresh new perspective and the president concurred with my approach."

"Perak fans can expect a new logo, a new direction, as well as a coach who wants to work with the fans. This is an important aspect for me in my life and I think it is just as important for the sport as well."

Azraai will officially take over Perak next week with the search for new players on-going in their efforts to translate youth tournament successes into another 'double treble' for their new coach.



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