WITH the threat of suspension hanging over striker Mohamad Ghaddar, Kelantan's new loan signing Afiq Azmi is eager to grasp a rare opportunity to shine after enduring a miserable season when his team Kuala Lumpur were relegated from the Super League.
Lebanon forward Ghaddar will discover on Thursday if he will miss Kelantan's first three matches of the Malaysia Cup group stage after being charged for an off-the-ball incident with Selangor's Bunyamin Umar in a Super League match in Kota Baru on June 29.
Selangor captain Amri Yahyah will also face the FA of Malaysia's disciplinary board over a separate incident involving Ghaddar in the same match.
Ghaddar has attracted a fair measure of controversy with his behaviour on the pitch with Perak captain Shahrulnizam Mustapha accusing the Kelantan forward of insulting his mother in a league game on July 7.
Shahrulnizam reacted by striking Ghaddar and was immediately dismissed in his side's 6-0 defeat in Kota Baru which helped seal Kelantan's second consecutive title.
If Ghaddar is banned, it could pave the way for Afiq to show his worth to Kelantan fans although he will have to battle Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Norfarhan Mohamad, Ramzul Zahini Adenan and Azlan Ismail for a starting berth.
"Kelantan is a great team with many good players and it will be a big challenge for me to break into the team," said Afiq, who finished as KL's top scorer this season with five goals.
"I know it won't be easy but I am ready to fight for a place and I hope to impress the coach (Bojan Hodak). I want to help Kelantan win the Malaysia Cup and finish the season on a high."
Afiq, 23, who will link up with Kelantan on Aug 1 along with KL skipper Aslam Najumudeen, has come along way since playing in the FAM League with Tambung Tulang in his home state Perlis.
He joined KL in 2010 and though he only scored six goals in 43 appearances, Afiq managed to earn a national call up for a friendly against Sarawak early this year.
"It has been a frustrating year for me after KL were relegated. It does feel a little strange moving from the bottom team to the champion team but I want to make the most of this opportunity.
"I was surprised that Kelantan wanted me and at first I thought it was a joke. But I think I should fit into the team easily and I'm quite exited to be joining them," said Afiq, who scored against Kelantan in KL's 3-2 FA Cup second round defeat this season.
Besides Afiq, KL centre-back Aslam Najumudeen and Sabah's Mafry Balang will also play for Kelantan on loan during the Malaysia Cup, which begins on Aug 24 with draw to be conducted on Thursday.