* More injury woes for Armed Forces
* Mat Yo latest on the crock list
* Young Perak will be a handful to contain – Satianathan
The hunger and desire to win is there but injuries are taking its toll on the team as Armed Forces prepare to face high-riding Perak at their ‘home’ venue which is the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi, Seremban on Saturday.
Armed Forces head coach B. Satianathan admitted that his team is “under pressure” after losing to east coast powerhouse Kelantan in their opening match at the same venue last week while Perak go into the match with their confidence sky-high after a 2-0 home win over Sime Darby FC.
“It is not easy to beat a team like Sime Darby. Perak is a young and energetic side and after the win over Sime Darby they are a confident lot. The pressure is on us and injuries have made things worse,” said Satianathan.
National striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, a new signing from Johor Darul Takzim this year is the latest to join the crock list with hamstring injury. Satianathan is already without Christie Jayaseelan (hamstring) and Affizie Faisal Mamat (ankle).
It is a bad start for Satianathan and his team after narrowly avoiding relegation to their lower-tier Premier League last season – thanks to injuries which knocked out his key players, including his ace in the pack Marlon James.
The situation looks no better than last year but one consolation is that the M-League is only into second match of the season. The former international is keeping his fingers crossed that his players will recover in time.
“The season has just started and there is a long way to go and I am positive we can get better,” added Satianathan.
“We have to stop the young and energetic Perak side. They have age on their side and they have shown that they are hard running team with a high workrate. We must keep with them and grab the chances we create.
“We cannot afford to miss chances…this is what against Kelantan and we were punished.”
For the new season Armed Forces have signed striker Adulafees Abdulsalam, defender Obinna Nwareri (both Nigeria), Australian midfielder Mario Karlovic and Honduras international Jerry Palacios. The soldiers have also roped in Terengganu-born Shukur Jusoh who played for Selangor last season.
For Satianathan and company, one defeat is not the end of the world. Armed Forces barely survived relegation to the Premier League last season – finishing 10th in the 12-team Super League.
Photo by Kamarul Akhir / www.asiana.my