BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Although his side were trounced 6-0 by FAM Cup side MOF FC in their first round FA Cup tie, CNA FC head coach Mark Nishant Jacob was still delighted with the opportunity presented to them.
The amateur side were one of the nine non-league clubs accepted to participate in the 2018 FA Cup, facing off against third tier sides in the first round played on Tuesday.
Met by Goal after their match that was held at the Inspen Stadium, Bangi, Mark thanked Malaysian FA (FAM) president and M-League organiser Football Malaysia LLP (FMLLP) chairman Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim for including amateur sides in the cup competition beginning in 2018.
"I think it's a fantastic opportunity. TMJ's (Tunku Ismail) plan is great because it's increasing the pool of players in the country. And with a bigger pool, there'll be more potential that we can unearth.
"We can see from the match just now, that on the individual level some of our players can meet the standards. We were only lacking in the organisation and training aspects. All in all, it's a fantastic experience and we're very lucky to be a part of it," he explained.
Asked whether he was disappointed in the hammering suffered by his men, Mark responded that he is very proud of them, joking that he was expecting to lose by a bigger margin.
"Actually I expected to lose by more! We knew we were going to struggle in terms of fitness," he remarked, "And towards the end of the game our players started cramping up, which proved to be decisive.
"But at times, especially in the first 20 minutes, we were there and very much in it. We could have even got a couple of goals ourselves, who knows how it would have turned out had we put those chances away? But we take it on the chin and will come back again next year, hopefully."
Out of the nine non-league sides, two have made it to the second round. Southern FC upset FAM Cup side Selangor United 2-1 to set up a clash with Melaka United, while Axis O2 emerged winners in the only all-non-league round one clash; against SRCC Kuala Kangsar, to face Kuantan FA.