SHAH ALAM: PERSIB Bandung coach Robert Alberts is hoping for a memorable homecoming party in the Asia Cup Challenge (ACC) at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Alberts has good memories in Malaysia having led Kedah and Sarawak to titles in the M-League in the past.
The Dutchman, who joined Indonesia’s Persib last year, also served as the FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) technical director between 2005-08.
Persib, who finished sixth in last season’s Liga One, will take on 33-time Malaysia Cup champions Selangor in the ACC today.
Alberts has brought an experimental side with players hoping to earn contracts for the new season, as Persib will only start their preseason training on Wednesday.
The other match pits Vietnam’s Hanoi FC and Thailand’s Bangkok United.
Alberts and Selangor coach B. Satiananthan have known each other for a long time.
When Alberts was serving as FAM’s technical director, Satiananthan was the national Under-23 coach.
They also used to run the Arsenal football school in Malaysia together and even bought houses in the same area in Port Dickson.
In terms of coaching expertise, both are experienced and the match today is expected to be an interesting affair.
‘It’s a pleasure to meet Satiananthan again and to face his team on the field will be exciting as our friendship goes a long way back.
‘It is important to see if we (Persib Bandung) can match Selangor at this stage.
‘Satiananthan is a good tactician, but he doesn't know my team yet,’ said Alberts, who guided Kedah to the league and Malaysia Cup crowns in 1993, in Shah Alam yesterday.
Satiananthan said: ‘It is always dangerous to play against a side who have not finalised their players yet. Their trainees will give their 100 per cent to impress the coach.
‘Anyway, the tournament is a good opportunity for my team to prepare for the Super League. I will test all my players in the tournament.’
Selangor have a formidable squad for the new season and among their marquee players are captain Taylor Regan (Australia), Safuwan Baharudin (Singapore), Brendan Gan, Nor Hakim Hassan, Ifedayo Olusegun (Nigeria) and Rufino Segovia (Spain).