Kelantan: Kelantan’s Croatian coach Bojan Hodak has deemed the quarter-final tie against Arbil as one of the most difficult the Malaysian side could have got, with the AFC Cup debutants facing a long trip to Iraq to face the 2011 semi-finalists.
Speaking to www.the-afc.com Hodak, who led the Red Warriors to a 3-2 defeat of Malaysian rivals Terengganu 3-2 in the Round of 16, said:
“There were two reasons I would have liked to avoid Arbil; the first one is the travelling distance as travelling from here (Kota Bharu) to Arbil requires lots of time and there will be fatigue concern and the other is a pure sporting reason,” he said.
“Arbil is one of the top teams remaining in this competition, I know they have been winning their matches on regular basis and I am sure going there in Iraq and playing against Arbil will be a tough challenge for us.
“However, this is a good opportunity for my boys to go to West and play a team as good as Arbil and get exposure. Malaysian football is going up and we need to make sure that we can play football all over Asia not only in this regio so we will see how it goes.”
The former Phnom Penh Crown coach also revealed that at the moment, he has no clear idea of Arbil technically.
“We will probably see handful of videos of Arbil playing and make our strategy,” he added.
Kelantan will play the first leg on September 18 while they entertain the Iraqis one week later at Sultan Mohammed IV Stadium in Kota Bharu.