Gan: It is an honour to be recognised as a leader within the team

Before he was ruled out of the season with an ACL injury, Brendan Gan had a chat with us about the new season…

Congratulations on being appointed as one of the vice-captains for the new season.

Thank you very much. It is quite exciting to be given the role and I did not see it coming at all. I have just been focusing on getting on with the job at hand. It is an honour to be recognised as a leader within the team. Hopefully I can live up to the coach’s expectations and do better this year.

You played in a few positions for Kelantan last year. What position do you prefer to play in this season?

Obviously, I love to play further up the field, but naturally it is up to the coach. He knows where my best position for the team is, and if I have to play in an unfamiliar position, I will do the job to the best of my ability. Football is not about an individual sport after all, so you have got to play your role and keep to the task assigned to you.

This year, Kelantan will not have the AFC Cup commitment for the first time since 2011. Is it a good or bad thing?

I would say it is a bad thing because, as a footballer, you always want to be in the best competitions. Obviously, some people would look at it as a good thing because it allows us to focus on the domestic fixtures instead of flying here and there for the competition. It is tough to travel and play a game every two or three days because it can easily wear the players off. So, without the AFC Cup, it would probably help us to do better in the league, but I would prefer to play in it.

Australian defender Jonathan McKain has joined the team from the A-League. As an Australian-born footballer, how reassuring has it been to have him in the squad?

We have been getting along and hopefully it will result in a good teamwork on the pitch, but it is not about me having an Australian buddy in the team. Ever since I moved here, I have been getting along really well with the local boys and consider them my extended family. So, I am happy to be here, regardless of whether McKain plays for the team or not. Anyway, he is a very experienced player and will be able to teach the younger players about defending. I am more excited for that to happen.

Floods hit the east coast very badly at the end of last year. Did it affect the team’s preparations for the new season?

It did in a way because it was such a terrible disaster. It was difficult to focus on training when you realised that thousands of families were stranded and had to move away from their homes. It was especially a tough few weeks for some of our players whose families were affected by it. The flood waters have since subsided to allow us to train again, but I know people are still struggling to return to normal lives. I hope things will get better for them.

Your old club, Sabah, have been making waves in the Premier League with their new signings. Have you been following their progress?

Of course. I will always have a soft spot for them. It is good to see that they have signed players like El Hadji Diouf to challenge for Super League promotion, so hopefully they can achieve it this season.

The interview was first published in FourFourTwo Malaysia/Singapore February 2015