Sundram looking to ruffle feathers in Malaysia once again

V. Sundramoorthy and a host of former LionsXII stars return to Malaysia with Tampines Rovers for a tough AFC Cup group stage clash against Selangor on Tuesday. 

Sundramoorthy needed no introduction when he walked into the pre-match press conference with his captain Mustafic Fahrudin in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.

Well known for his flamboyant style during his playing days with Kedah, Pahang and Kelantan, Sundram’s stock rose further after he guided Singapore development side LionsXII to the Malaysia Super League (MSL) title in 2013.

Being back in Malaysia for the AFC Cup clash against Selangor with his Tampines troops brought back fond memories for Sundram and the 11 former LionsXII players in his current squad.

But it also increased their wariness of Selangor, as they know first-hand just how dangerous the Red Giants are back at home.

“It’s good to be back in Malaysia … meeting people like Zainal Abidin Hassan and (local) journalists. I have a lot of memories here. The crowd is usually fantastic for these kind of matches and that brings value,” said Sundram.

“Some of my players have the experience of playing here and we know that away games are tough … it has always been.

“Obviously, Selangor are the favourites for this match but we did not come here to return empty-handed.”

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As a coach, Sundramoorthy has not suffered a defeat at the hands of Selangor.

Tampines and Selangor last met in the 2013 AFC Cup group stage, with the teams cancelling each other out in a six-goal thriller at Shah Alam Stadium in the first match before Selangor prevailed 3-2 at Jalan Besar Stadium.

Selangor are expected to pay close attention to former Arsenal and Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, who has slotted into the squad well since his attention-grabbing move to the S.League.

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“He is fit for the match and if I opt against starting him, he will still see minutes later on in the match,” said Sundram.

“He has made a great impact for the club, the S. League and even the national team players.

“The fans are coming back and this brings a great feeling … even to the players as having a crowd will be encouraging for the players.”