After a stunning turnaround – a four-game winning streak on the back of a three-game losing streak, Gomo Warriors now find themselves in the semi-finals of the SepakTakraw League (STL) 2015.
And they have no intention of losing their momentum, going into the knockout stage of STL at the Sports Arena Sentosa in Petaling Jaya.
However, the Kelantan outfit will have to overcome an uphill task against Penang’s Black Panthers on Dec 12.
Gomo Warriors head coach, Baharil Anuar, is confident of their chances to progress to the final.
“It has been our main target from the very beginning to qualify for the semi-finals. But the slow start to our STL campaign dampened the players’ confidence and the mood,” Baharil said.
“We had to go back to the drawing board and look into certain areas of improvement such as the quality of our services while also trying out different combinations,” said Baharil, adding that all the hard work put in by the players eventually dividends.
Gomo Warriors winning streak began by defeating City Flyers followed by triumphs over Northern Rangers, Southern Tigris and Green Titans. Their qualification to semi-final was confirmed on the last day of STL preliminary round after East Coast Surfers failed to beat Black Panthers – a result they were hoping for.
Baharil admitted that the current mood in Gomo Warriors camp is encouraging as they strive to become the first team to defeat Black Panthers.
“Though they are a strong team, we want to be the first team to stop Black Panthers. If the players play to strategies diligently we are capable of defeating just about any team in STL” he said.
The defeat against East Coast Surfers in the early stages of the group rounds forced Baharil to chop and change his combinations, especially for the side’s third regu.
His decision to replace the vastly experienced tekong, Normanizam Ahmad proved to be a good move as Khairul Hisyam developed a good chemistry with teammates Aidil Azman Azwawi and Wan Naim Azmi.
Interestingly enough ever since Baharil made that change, Gomo Warriors won all of their third regu matches. Instead, the consistency displayed by Khairul, Aidil and Wan Naim has been vital in securing a point for the Kelantan outfit in each of the match they played in together.
“The main thing is for us to keep our focus and to not give up so easily. We need to maintain our consistency and keep our heads down,” said Wan Naim.
“Our players will have to be 100 per cent ready because at any given time, any player can be called upon to play, depending on the coaches’ tactics,” added Wan Naim.
Gomo Warriors will hope to go one better as they only managed to finish runners-up in the National Grand Prix (NGP) 2015 tournament in October.
They will be looking for inspiration in the form of their first regu combination of Hisham Mat, Malek Faqimi Idris and Yusry Yusof along with their national players Farhan Adam, Idham Sulaiman and Afifudin Razali, all of whom were involved in the NGP as well.
Semi-final 1: Black Panthers vs Gomo Warriors (12noon)
Semi-final 2: City Flyers vs Armed Forces (4pm)
3rd-4th placing: Loser of Semi-final 1 vs Loser of Semi-final 2 (12noon)
Final: Winner of Semi-final 1 vs Winner of Semi-final 2 (4pm)