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Monday, September 24, 2001

M-Cup - NS Chempaka now a threat even for the big boys


PETALING JAYA: When Negri Sembilan Chempaka beat the national football team before the start of the season on Feb 26, the national team were roundly attacked for being of such poor quality.

No one stopped to even consider that NS Champaka, in fact, could be a good team.

Now, though, the club side have grabbed nationwide attention. A thumping 4-0 win over Sarawak on Saturday shocked everyone and now the fleet-footed attack will be gunning to scalp another Premier I side, Kelantan, in their Malaysia Cup Group B campaign at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi tomorrow.

On Saturday, the Premier II outfit bounced back from their opening defeat by Pahang (1-2) to score the stunning win over Sarawak.

Chempaka are living up to their tag as the “giant killers”. In the pre-season, they not only beat the national team 2-0, they also beat Premier I’s Kuala Lumpur 4-0. In Premier II, they finished third to gain promotion to Premier I.

Sarawak, who had defeated Kelantan 2-0 in their opening game on Tuesday, had been expected to make short work of the club side. But they crumbled under the fierce onslaught by Chempaka’s three-pronged attack, comprising R. Mani Varman, R. Sekar and R. Balan, the three Rs of the side.

“I have a hard-running side and my players have the speed and agility to take on defenders. They are a threat inside the box and a nightmare for defenders,’’ said coach G. Torairaju.

The nippy Mani Varman opened accounts for Chempaka against Sarawak and the 20-year-old forward was also on target in the 1-2 defeat by Pahang.

Mani’s elder brother Sekar played for Malacca Telekom in Premier II two seasons ago and scored 11 goals. This season, the 28-year-old Sekar has six goals to his credit. Balan, who plays a supporting role for the two brothers, has scored one goal.

Torairaju, a former international, said he was not surprised at all that his team beat Sarawak convincingly.

“We have a balanced side. In fact, we should not have lost to Pahang. In the match played on a slippery pitch, we had a fair chance to win it,’’ said Torairaju.

Sarawak coach Jalil Ramli admitted that the hard-running Chempaka side had caught his team by surprise.

“We did not expect this at all. They punished us and all credit should go to them. They were fast, especially down the flanks. They caused us a lot of problems and my boys were unable to contain them,’’ said Jalil, who felt that the clubs side had proved that they were more than a match for the state teams.

Last week, Kelantan TNB defeated defending champions Perak 2-1 in their opening Group C match in Ipoh.

Sarawak, who are the FA Cup runners-up to Selangor, will have to pick up the pieces in Kuching tomorrow when they play against group leaders Pahang.

“My boys played good football in the opening match to beat Kelantan (2-0). I am a little worried about their inconsistent form,’’ said Jalil.

Chempaka will face a desperate Kelantan side, who have only a point to show from the 0-0 draw against Pahang. Kelantan were beaten 0-2 by Sarawak in the opening match.

Source: The Star

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Sunday, September 30, 2001

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    Wednesday, September 26, 2001

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  • M-Cup - Sabah hammered by Penang 5-0

    Tuesday, September 25, 2001

  • M-Cup - Pahang: We are going into war zone vs S'wak
  • M-Cup - No respite for Sabah in their chase for points
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    Monday, September 24, 2001

  • Cricket - Sarawak dethrone Brunei
  • M-Cup - NS Chempaka now a threat even for the big boys
  • M-Cup - Club side stun Sarawak with 4-0 win

    Sunday, September 23, 2001

  • Cricket - Sarawak-Brunei final
  • Brunei to host Ascope Games
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