All hands on deck for Malaysia Cup, says Fandi

Fandi urges all his 28 players to be ready to contribute

ALL SYSTEMS GOAL: LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad (centre, flanked by Gabriel Quak and Faritz Hameed) wants to see the same kind of commitment that saw nine different players step up to score goals during their Malaysian FA Cup-winning run earlier this season.

As they go in search of Malaysia Cup glory, LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad has called upon not just his first 11, but his entire 28-man squad to stand up and be counted.

In yesterday's Malaysia Cup draw, conducted at the Hilton Hotel Petaling Jaya, the LionsXII were pulled into Group A, along with Terengganu, Malaysian Premier League champions Kedah and Johor Darul Ta'zim II.

The fixtures will be released later.

Fandi insists that they have to show the same team effort that led to their fairy-tale success in the Malaysian FA Cup, if the Singaporean side are to claim a remarkable Cup double.

The 53-year-old told The New Paper yesterday: "We had players injured, suspended and unavailable due to various reasons, but those who came in stepped up to help the team win the FA Cup.

"We got goals from all departments - nine different players, some who are not first-team regulars, scored our 17 goals, and some very crucial ones, too.

"We had to field players out of position, but midfielders Zulfahmi (Arifin) and Nazrul (Ahmad Nazari) did very well in defence, as we kept four clean sheets and conceded just five in seven games.

"This is the kind of commitment and performance I want to see from every player during the Malaysia Cup."

On paper, it seems like a straightforward group for the LionsXII - with just one other Malaysian Super League (MSL) team in Terengganu, whom they beat en route to winning the FA Cup, and two lower-tier sides.

Since the LionsXII were established in 2012, they have never lost to Kedah, winning once and drawing thrice. They have also beaten JDT II in their FA Cup run.

But, after seeing his side miss out on the knockout stages last season, Fandi refused to be lulled into complacency.

"We are in quite a tough group because Kedah just won the Premier League and they will be very eager to perform in the Malaysia Cup. Terengganu are a very complete team, while we cannot take JDT II lightly," he said."

"We must take this seriously and use the FA Cup victory as motivation to do well.

"It won't be easy, so I really hope the fans will come out in full force to support us at Jalan Besar Stadium."

While they won three times away from home in their FA Cup victory, the LionsXII have just one away MSL win all season, and Fandi agreed that they have to improve on the road.


Wing forward Faris Ramli, who has scored 10 goals for the LionsXII in all competitions this season, urged his teammates to forget about their poor away record and start afresh.

"We just have to put everything aside, not dwell on the past, and focus on what we are supposed to do in every game," said the 23-year-old.

"That's what we did in the FA Cup, and, hopefully, it will bring us far in the Malaysia Cup, too."

Meanwhile, JDT II skipper Shahril Ishak is looking forward to a return to Jalan Besar, after drawing his former club in the Malaysia Cup for the second year running.

The 31-year-old said: "We have achieved our target of reaching the Malaysia Cup and anything can happen in such cup competitions.

"I didn't play against the LionsXII last season because of a hamstring injury, so I'm looking forward to playing at Jalan Besar again as it is a place where we have shared so many special moments with the fans.

"We know the LionsXII will be tough opponents, but we will try our best to surprise our higher-ranking opponents and try to make it out of our group."


  • Terengganu
  • LionsXII
  • Kedah
  • Johor Darul Ta'zim II


  • Johor Darul Ta'zim
  • Perak
  • Sarawak
  • ATM FA


  • Selangor
  • Felda United
  • Kelantan
  • T-Team


  • Pahang
  • Penang
  • PKNS

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After winning gold in the 100m and 
4x100m free, Ruck aims to be Canada's 
first Olympic medallist in 20 years

It has been almost two decades since a female Canadian swimmer last stood on the Olympic podium.

But, with two superb performances at the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships, 15-year-old Taylor Ruck established herself as a possible contender to emulate Marianne Limpert, who won bronze in the 200m individual medley at Atlanta 1996.

"I'm definitely shooting for Rio, and to medal at either the 2016 or 2020 Olympics would be amazing," said Taylor, whose winning time of 53.92sec in the 100m freestyle also ties her as the 17th fastest swimmer this season.

It represents a massive improvement from her personal best of 55.51 she set at the 2015 Canadian Trials before competing in Singapore.

Thus, Taylor went from being the 10th fastest Canadian this season in the event to third, behind only 21-year-old Chantal Van Landeghem and 23-year-old Sandrine Mainville.


Taylor burst out of the blocks at the OCBC Aquatic Centre to reach the halfway mark in 25.90, under Shen Duo's world-junior split of 26.40, before cruising home in a new championship record just eight-hundredths of a second outside Shen's mark.

Unfazed, she bagged a new world junior record when she anchored the Canadian mixed 4x100m freestyle quartet - with Javier Acevedo, Markus Thormeyer and women's 100m silver medallist Penny Oleksiak - to another stunning gold in 3:27.71.

This was more than a second faster than the old record of 3:28.74 set by Australia in 2013, and Taylor contributed with an astonishing 53.69 to 
cap a stirring comeback for the Canadians, who were sixth after the first leg.

"I'm not disappointed not to get the world junior record in the 100m," said Taylor, who looks up to 20-year-old American backstroke specialist Missy Franklin, a four-time Olympic champion.

"I'm happy because I just wanted to swim better than my own times and I did it, and after that we won the mixed freestyle relay in record time, which was awesome."

On a warm and humid night, there were four new championship records from the five finals.

Australian Minna Atherton stayed on track to sweep gold in all three backstroke events when she won the 200m in a new championship record of 2:09.11 to add to the 100m gold she had already picked up in world junior record of 59.58.

Russian Daniil Pakhomov also set a new championship record when he won the men's 100m butterfly final in 52.28, while China's Yang Jintong produced a burst in the last 200m to take gold in the men's 800m freestyle in 7:55.19.

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