Former New Radiant boss, Iordan Stoykov has sent his well wishes to New Radiant, saying that the team will definitely advance to the knockout stage of AFC Cup 2018. Stoykov was in charge of New Radiant when they advanced to the semi-final of AFC Cup in 2005, surprisingly eliminating stronger Arab teams.
Speaking exclusively to Maldivesoccer.com, the mastermind behind reaching the semifinals of AFC Cup said that the current squad of New Radiant is stronger than those days. He believes New Radiant has everything that takes to make it through.
“Definitely New Radiant can pass”.
Stoykov was well known for his defensive style of play noted that defensive play is the most important part in the game. “Right balance should be found, the defensive part of the game will be decisive for final result”.
Under the helm of Stoykov, New Radiant advanced to the knockout stage as the best runners-up from all group. They won against Jordanian side Al-Hussein (Irbid) at home and equalized in the away game in the quarterfinal. They later held Al-Faisaly Amman of Jordan at home but lost in the away game in the semifinal. Al-Faisaly Amman later crowned the Trophy of AFC Cup 2005.
“Back in 2005, the structure of the team was different, we played counter attack emphasizing to the perfect defense”.
“Up front we relied on set pieces and individuals like Thariq. Every game that time we tried to control tightly best opponent’s players.
Current New squad is better than 2005 and I believe they can remember 2005 how players like Boyko, Jameel, Thariq ,Oppo, and all fight on the field
New Radiant needs an away win at Guwahati against Indian Champions Aizawl FC on Wednesday to reach the knockout stage for a third time. New Radiant is the only Maldivian side who has ever made to the knockout stage of AFC Cup. Apart from playing at the semifinals in 2005, New Radiant played the Quarter Finals of AFC Cup 2013 under the guidance of Velizar Popov.