* Terengganu without three of their four foreigners
* Paulo Rangel and Gustavo Lopez suspended, Issey Nakajima injured
* Ismail Faruqi and Azlan Ismail also on crock list
Terengganu chief coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim is never one to buckle when odds are heavily stacked against the Turtles for tomorrow’s east coach biggie against star-studded Johor Darul Takzim when the Super League resumes on Saturday after a month-long break.
The Turtles will be at home to the Southern Tigers at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak, Kuala Terengganu – a venue which does not hold any sweet memories for Terengganu who fell to Lions XII in the FA Cup return-leg semi-final on away goals despite a 3-2 win. Lions XII won the first-leg at the Jalan Besar Stadium 2-1.
But the venue is also remembered when Terengganu’s Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel and Argentine playmaker Gustavo Lopez were red carded in the FA Cup match. The duo will sit out the JDT match to serve suspension while Canadian international Issey Nakajima is still nursing a back injury he sustained in the FA Cup semi-final first-leg.
Terengganu fans also went on riot and burned an ambulance and smashed several other vehicles apart from damaging the bus ferrying the Singapore players.
To make matters worse for Cikgu, as Abdul Rahman is popularly known in the football fraternity, midfielder Ismail Faruqi and striker Azlan Ismail are also on the crock list for the JDT match.
“This makes it five and to be without five key players, all pillars in their respective departments against a team like JDT with all the stars and near national lineup simply makes it tough for Terengganu,” said Abdul Rahman from Terengganu.
But in the same breath Abdul Rahman was quick to say “it is not the end of the world” for Terengganu.
“This is the time for the reserves to show their strength. It is left to the players to get a positive result and we have to take the field with a positive attitude. It is not impossible to beat JDT…if we can take the chances we create and score,” added Abdul Rahman.
Terengganu are seventh in the league standings with 14 points after 10 matches – winning four, two draws and four defeats. JDT, who have a poor away record are third with 18 points from the same number of matches.
“JDT have the full side and all their foreigners in the lineup. This makes them favourites but in football anything can happen and we have to be focused on the match.
“We have trained hard and we tried out several combinations to cater for the absence of the our suspended players as well as those who are injured. It will be an interesting match in many ways,” Abdul Rahman said.