Taking the reins as interim coach under two weeks ago, Abbas Saad is excited to be able to lead the squad tonight as we kick off our AFC Cup journey.
The 55-year-old, who took charge our Men’s NPL First Grade team this season, is certainly not taking tonight’s match against Terengganu lightly.
Saad knowing the challenge that lays ahead in Malaysia, expecting a fierce home crowd and warm conditions. Neither him nor the squad are using that as an excuse, thrilled to be back in Asian Football for the first time in 10 years, ready to make a statement.
“Terengganu certainly do have a good team; their foreign players certainly do pose a threat. They are good players; however, we have a strong squad with very strong players so I am not worried about them,” Saad said.
“After 10 years of not playing in Asia, we are really proud to be in the AFC Cup this season. We are all guns blazing, ready to have a big game tomorrow night and we are looking forward to the challenge of facing Terengganu.”
Now in our ninth week of pre-season training, the team are eager for Wednesday night’s game, with Saad commenting on the positive preparations so far.
Everyone is fit and firing heading into the clash, excited to get out on the park and play AFC Cup football.
“The preparation has been really good in the lead up to this match. We arrived in Malaysia early Monday morning so we have been here for two days. We are all fit and healthy heading into tomorrow’s game, and I know that the boys are eager to get out there for a big challenge tomorrow night,” he said.
“We have been working hard back in Australia in the lead up for this match and have been preparing for this tournament for the last six weeks. The boys have been working really hard this pre-season and are looking forward to it. It is the first time in 10 years that the Mariners have been in Asia, so everyone from the club is very keen for it.”
Heading into the competition, Saad was clear what the team’s intentions are for the tournament. While not going into the group stages expecting an easy ride, the squad are eager to make a statement and secure top spot.
“We are not in this competition to make up the numbers, we are going into the AFC Cup with the full intention of winning it. We will not be happy just being a part of the competition, we want to finish on top in the group stage, progress through each of the finals and hopefully win it all. That is what we have in mind as our goal for this tournament, and I am sure that Terengganu do as well,” he said.
“We are here to fight; we are here to play and we are here to win. We will respect Terengganu as we do with every team, but we are certainly not scared, and we head into the match looking for three points.”