PETALING JAYA: Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak has leapt to the defence of striker Keita Mandjou ahead of their Super League match against PKNS at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru tonight.
Kelantan fans have criticised the signing of the 31-year-old Mandjou. They prefer to see the younger Dimitri Petratos spearheading their attack in the Super League.
However, Hodak has opted for experience and plumped for Mandjou as their second foreign player in the Super League. The other is Nigerian defender Obinna Nwaneri.
Petratos and their fourth foreign player – Croatian defender Lek Kcira – will be used in the AFC Cup competition, which kicks off on March 6.
“Mandjou played well in last Sunday’s Charity Shield (against Armed Forces) and even created the chance for Indra (Putra Mahayuddin) to score,” said Croatian Hodak, who led Kelantan to their treble last season.
“I’m not too worried about Mandjou not scoring at this stage … he’s a player who can lead the line and create chances for other players and I believe he’s not too far from hitting top form.
“Mandjou has not played competitive matches for six months and slowly getting back to his best. If he had scored in the Charity Shield, it would have boosted his confidence.”
The 41-year-old Hodak reckons that they will have to be careful against last season’s draw specialists PKNS FC in their opening Super League match.
The club side have recruited highly-rated Liberian striker Patrick Wleh for added firepower.
“You never know … PKNS are quite dangerous. Others may say that they are a boring side but I know they are capable of creating problems for us,” said Hodak.
“They are a very disciplined and organised side … they hold their shape well for 90 minutes. It’s going to be a difficult match but we are playing at home, so we hold the advantage.”
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