NORILHAM Hj Jais is betting on Indera FC's team chemistry to see them through tonight's DST Group Brunei FA Cup quarter-final match against AM Gunners FC.
The match at the Berakas Sports Complex will be the ex-DPMM FC assistant coach's seventh match in charge of Indera, and he said he has seen marked changes in the side.
Two ex-DPMM FC players, Helmi Zambin and Azwan Salleh, helped Indera to a 3-2 result over Majra FC in the second round on Tuesday.
Left winger Sairol Hj Sahari makes up the third player in the trio of ex-DPMM midfielders currently playing for Indera, but Norilham downplayed suggestions that it was the DPMM FC connection that won the match.
"It's not just the ex-DPMM FC players. I can see the connection between the DPMM players and non-DPMM FC players and it is phenomenal!" he said.
"I am really impressed with the team since my first match in charge and the players know how to adjust.
"A lot of them are friends ... so they know each other quite well. I can see no problem. I am very optimistic," he added.
After a 1-0 defeat to league leaders QAF FC in his first match in charge on Jan 13, Norilham steered Indera to two wins, a draw and a loss, eventually finishing sixth in the 10-team DST Group Brunei Premier League I.
The coach will be aiming for his first win over AM Gunners, with the previous two encounters ending in a draw and a loss.
AM Gunners FC beat Indera 4-2 in their first round match on Aug 5, with the second round game on Feb 15 a 1-1 draw after Sairol's penalty cancelled out a Md Nazlee Pehin Dato Hj Jaafar strike.
With a mid-table finish in the league, Norilham said he was hoping to make up for it in the FA Cup.
"I know the boys can do the job. They are hungry for the Cup even though the finish in the league wasn't that excellent," said Norilham.
"I told them to treat every game like the final, and if they want to get the trophy, hard work is the answer.
"I have always told the boys they must maintain their discipline during games; both offensively and defensively. Good defence will win championships," he added.
Finishing third in the league in their debut campaign, AM Gunners can also count on the experience of two ex-DPMM FC midfielders in Hj Muhd Subhi Abdillah Hj Bakir and Rosmini Kahar.
The Brunei Times