* Reuben kayoed by fractured right ankle
The last trip east to Kuala Terengganu ended in a 3-0 defeat to T-Team in a second round FA Cup match and winless Armed Forces will visit Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium again this Saturday – this time to face Terengganu in a Super League match.
It does not fear Armed Forces head coach B. Satianathan the least bit even after the Gladiators lost all their opening three matches in the league and their FA Cup campaign came to an abrupt end when Premier League’s T-Team plundered three goals in extra time for an unexpected 3-0 win and a place in the last 16.
The Gladiators suffered a crippling blow when international K. Reuben fractured his right ankle plus a torn ligament following a tackle by a Felda player in the 2-1 defeat the Selayang Stadium on Feb 21.
“Reuben has undergone surgery and will be out for at least three months, this is a big blow to the team. It looks like the injury jinx is still with the team,” said a disappointed Satianathan.
In the same breath Satianathan was quick to add that “we got to live with it” and move on as the season has a “lot to offer” to all the teams in the M-League.
“Even the big names have fallen along the way but it does not mean their campaign is over. Even (Jose Maurinho, Chelsea manager) has undergone the ups and downs at all levels in the English Premier League and the European League,” Satianathan reminded, upset with a report in a Bahasa daily about Armed Forces’ winless run in the league and the second round exit in the FA Cup.
The report quoted sources.
“If the person who allegedly fed the reporter is not willing to come out in the open it simply means he (source) is a chicken. The report does not bother me the least bit.
“We travel to the same venue we lost to T-Team but it does not fear me or my players. It is not going to be any easy to face Terengganu, it will be a very tough match but we are not throwing in the towel.
“Armed Forces have the pride and dignity to fight for. The match could be the perfect venue for us to turn things around. I have no complaints about the players but the locals must stop depending too much on the foreigners.
“Believe me Jerry (Palacios) is not pulling anything back in his game. He has done all except to score. He had hit the posts a couple of times. I expect him to hit target soon. It will help lift the gloom in the team,” added Satianathan, commenting on the Honduras striker who has yet to score since the M-League kicked off.
Nigerian Abdulafees Abdul Salam, who played for Perak last season, is the other foreign striker in the Armed Forces team.