Raddy-Raja wordplay

Posted on July 22, 2011

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Ahead of their World Cup qualifier on Saturday, the coaches of Singapore and Malaysia have been almost as busy providing quotes as preparing their respective teams. Here’s an account of the verbal tennis match that ensued between the Lions’ Radojko Avramovic and Malaysia’s Datuk K. Rajagobal.

Avramovic

“(Malaysia) played rational football – not attractive but direct, creating problems for Taiwan’s defence with numbers and quick movement.Their wingers are fast and their attackers are also very aggressive.

“They have players who are not fully fit and that may be a problem for them, but they are good defensively with other players, especially Kunalan and Baddrol Bakhtiar who can be dangerous. But we can beat them, we can beat any team if we play well. It is only a question of how well we can prepare ourselves.”

Radojko Avramovic, after Malaysia defeat Chinese Taipei 2-1 in the first leg of their WC qualifier

Avramovic

“We must play an attacking game because Malaysia have shown they can leak goals. They let in two goals from penalties which shows that their defence can make mistakes and concede such fouls, so we must go and attack them.

“Of course, they have also showed they are good in attack, and can score from free-kicks, but this is nothing new from what we already know about them. And as long as our players perform to their true potential, and we don’t suffer any more injuries, it will be two good games between two good teams.”

Avramovic, after Malaysia lose 3-2 in Taipei but progress on the away goals rule

Rajagobal

“It’s nice to hear that Singapore have a plan for us. We’ve got a plan too. Let’s see whose works.

“Look at the age of my players and compare that to the experience that the Singapore team have. There’s still so much room for us to improve, so the pressure is very much on Singapore, not on us, when we meet. My boys have nothing to prove.”

Datuk K. Rajagobal, speaking to Singapore media

Avramovic

 

“Who are the champions of South-east Asia? I think the pressure is on Malaysia because they want to prove they are worthy of that title and that they did not win it by chance.”

 

Rajagobal

 

“Singapore are confident. Raddy knows my team and he says our defence is weak. Yes, in some matches we made sloppy mistakes and the players have to learn, they have room to improve. Compare that to Singapore who have Hariss Harun, he’s 20, the rest of them are experienced defenders.”

 

 

Avramovic

“I think there are a lot of people who like to twist what has actually been said. What I’ve said is that Malaysia are a good team and we can beat any team if we play well. Why do I want to say anything bad about Malaysia when it will only motivate them to win against us? There is no logic at all in doing so.

“How can they win the Suzuki Cup if their defence is weak? For me, Malaysia are a good team. They showed that by winning the Suzuki Cup and they showed that they can produce results against Chinese Taipei. That’s all, everyone else is talking rubbish.”

Rajagobal

 

“The thing you don’t realise is that there are five foreign — naturalised citizens — in the Singapore team. Who has the advantage, who has to perform well?”

Avramovic

 

 

“If Rajagobal thinks we are breaking the law, then he is talking rubbish. Who we choose to play is not his problem and maybe he should be concentrating on the selection of his team.”

Rajagobal

 

“It is good for me that they slacked. It allows me to warn them for the Singapore games and make the necessary changes. I saw the spark in my players against Liverpool. They are ready to take on Singapore. I believe Safee wants to score as many goals as possible against Singapore. His return to form is bad news for them.

Avramovic

 

 

“I don’t know (Rajagobal) personally, but I respect him. He has produced a good team and I am happy he got his chance at international level.”

 

 

Rajagobal

“As a player, some of my best memories are of playing and beating the Singapore team in the Malaysia Cup. At the time, we were just state sides and Singapore was a national team. Now, the Singapore squad has naturalised citizens and an experienced squad, they need to beat us more because of the squad they have compared to my young team.”

Avramovic

 

 

“Pressure should activate that mechanism in yourself to produce more. When there is no pressure, you cannot produce something special. Playing with pressure is life. It is a challenge my players and I must embrace.”

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