Sathianathan hopes history repeats itself

ATM coach B. Sathianathan is hoping history repeats itself on Saturday when his players take on Kelantan in the Malaysia Cup final at the Shah Alam Stadium.

Football News: B. Sathianathan, ATM

By Gabriel Tan

Two years ago, Sathianathan ended Kelantan's 89-year wait when he led them to their first-ever Malaysia Cup title.

Having taken over at the Armed Forces in November last year, he will now be aiming to repeat the feat this weekend and admits it would be major achievement for himself if that proves to be the case.

"I'm very happy to be in this situation," he told in an exclusive interview. "I hope history repeats itself.

"Having brought the first Malaysia Cup to Kelantan, doing the same for ATM would be the icing on the cake."

The 54-year-old has already led his side to victory in the Premier League this season, which means they will be plying their trade in Malaysia's top flight in 2013, although he insists winning the Malaysia Cup would top that.

"In Malaysia, no one talks about anything other than the Malaysia Cup," Sathianathan explained.

"It is seen as the finale of the whole season and people remember this more than the league campaign.

"If we do win, I would consider this as the bigger achievement."

Sathianathan will have to do without the services of the suspended Irwan Fadzli Idrus on Saturday but, having backed Malaysia international Amirizwan Taj Tajuddin to fill his void, is confident his side will do well.

"We have no injury or suspension worries apart from Irwan Fadzli," he said.

"Amirizwan will take his place in the side. He's a national player and I believe he's more than capable of stepping up to the task.

"I am confident that it will be a good game and a good final. Of course, it will be difficult coming up against Kelantan but I believe my players will go out and play to the best of their abilities."

Amirizwan and centre-back partner Aidil Zafuan are likely to have their hands full against fellow Malaysia international Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who is expected to lead the Kelantan attack.

Nonetheless, Sathianathan believes their opponents will be equally dangerous from midfield, with Badhri Radzi and Indra Putra Mahayuddin both capable of creating something out of nothing.

"I think we'll have to keep an eye out on Norshahrul," he added. "He's very unpredictable and can cause problems.

"Indra Putra is another one, as well as Piya [Badhri] who will be the main threat from midfield."

The Red Warriors will be missing two key players through suspension in Norfarhan Muhammad and Mohammad Ghaddar but according to the ATM boss, he is only happy to see the back of one of them.

"I don't think this [Kelantan missing Ghaddar] is the case because I would actually prefer if he was playing," Sathianathan revealed. "We know his style and what we need to do to contain him.

"But I agree they will miss Norfarhan. Like Norshahrul, he has that unpredictable nature that can make him a threat."

Both sides met in the group stage earlier in this year's competition, with the first encounter ending in a 1-1 draw in Selayang, before Kelantan edged ATM in a 4-3 thriller in the return leg.

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