JOHOR Darul Takzim will not be idle during the three-week break in the M-League and have lined up five friendlies with Singapore clubs to keep the momentum going.
Coach-cum-manager Fandi Ahmad said the first of the friendlies is against S-League club side Hougang at the Larkin Stadium tomorrow followed by a match against H2O Dream Team in Singapore (venue to be confirmed) on Thursday.
The third match is against Geylang United on Sunday at the Larkin Stadium before they take on Singapore Armed Forces FC on Feb 6, also at home. The final match is against the Singapore Young Lions at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on Feb 9.
“I will give my reserve players the chance to play in these friendly matches. They need match experience and exposure. With injuries taking their toll on the team, I have to be prepared for any eventuality,” said Fandi.
Johor Darul Takzim have been hit by a spate of injuries to key players. Topping the list is national striker Safee Sali who is out for three weeks with a left ankle injury when he accidentally stepped on a ball after a training session last Thursday.
Safee, who had to pull out from the national squad preparing for the Asia Cup qualifiers, is now on crutches. According to Fandi, Safee has torn ligaments.
Also injured are Johor Darul Takzim’s two foreign players. Former Spain international Daniel Guiza injured his left shoulder after he took a hard fall during the 1-0 win over Perak in a first round FA Cup match at the Larkin Stadium on Friday.
Former Lazio midfielder Simone Del Nero is currently back in Italy to seek treatment for a nagging hamstring injury and has seen only 30 minutes of Super League action during the 1-1 draw against last season’s treble champions Kelantan in Kota Baru on Jan 15.
Goalkeeper Al Hafiz Hamzah is also on the crock list and has not played since the opening match against Pahang in Kuantan on Jan 8. Johor Darul Takzim lost 3-2 after leading 2-0.
Johor Darul Takzim resume their Super League campaign on Feb 16 with a home match against Terengganu outfit T-Team, now coached by Englishman Peter Butler.