Terengganu coach Irfan Bakti cuts short the festive Hari Raya break to get the team prepared for the second half of the Premier League season.
In search of promotion to the top-tier league next season, the 66-year-old veteran believes that it’s time to get back to work to polish their skills before the league resumes with Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) II as their first assignment on 30 June.
“During the Ramadhan break, we played with three Super League teams – Felda United (14 June), Pahang (18 June) and Kelantan (21 June) – and I’m very happy with my team’s peformance.
“Through these matches I have identified the weaknesses and the strong points of my team. So for now, we will make some corrections and improve on our team play,” said Irfan.
The three friendlies ended in a tight conclusion – Felda United (1-2), Pahang (3-3) and Kelantan (0-1).
Despite placing second in the 12-team standings with 27 points after 13 matches, Irfan admitted that there is a stiff contest between the top five teams with Negri Sembilan leading the standings with 29 points, Kuala Lumpur (26), PKNP (25) and UiTM (21).
“The point gap between the top five teams aren’t very far away so we have to buck up and collect the points by winning as much as we can, especially at home.
“Starting on the 30th, we will play JDT II – placed sixth with 20 points – in our home ground and I am confident that we can collect all three points.
“We have confirmed the two new foreign signings and they are in training with the team now. And we also recruited two other local players to strengthen the team,” explained Irfan.
The Turtles have dropped two foreign players – Uzbekistan midfielder Lutfulla Turaev and Argentine striker Federico Falcone. While the remaining two imports retained were Brazilian defender Lazaro Vinicius and Canadian striker Issey Nakajima-Farran.
In addition, the east coast sides have bolstered the squad with two new imports – Ivory Coast striker Kipre Tchetche and Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Davis – and two local players – Felda United winger Ridzuan Abdunloh and Felcra FC midfielder Azi Shahril Azmi. – BY ALVIN OH