* Terengganu hope to ride on their morale boosting win over Selangor against Sarawak
* Only three foreigners in Terengganu side after the management off load injured Lebanese striker Hassan
* Coach Abdul Rahman warns of hungry Crocs and tremendous fighting spirit
When Sarawak snatched a late late equaliser deep into five minutes of added time through Shahrol Saperi in their 3-3 draw in their opening Super League match against Felda United at the Selayang Stadium last Saturday it sent out a strong warning that the Crocs are a strong team with fighting qualities.
And Terengganu chief coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim has taken note of that and has been drilling into his players that “football is a game of 90 minutes” and anything less than that is “asking for trouble” as Felda found out the hard way and had to share the spoils although they had victory written all over.
“The Felda-Sarawak match is a good lesson that you just cannot take your foot off the pedal to win matches. We will be playing in a totally different atmosphere and environment compared to our match against Selangor,” said Abdul Rahman.
Terengganu scored a morale boosting win over the Red Giants at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in their opening match with goals by Ismail Faruqi and new signing, Argentine playmaker Gustavo Lopez. Another new signing is Brazilian striker Paulo Rangel, winner of the Gold Boots Award last year with 16 goals when playing for Selangor.
The East Coast giants, however, have only three foreigners in the team until the next transfer window opens in April after the management terminated the services of their Lebanese striker Hassan Chaito due injury. The Lebanon international picked up a hamstring injury during a pre-season friendly match against Singapore out Lions XII.
Apart from Lopez and Rangel, Terengganu’s other foreigner in the side is Cameroon defender Vincent Bikana who is into his third season with the Turtles. Terengganu have set their sights on winning at least one title this season.
“It was not an easy match against Selangor. We had a tough time against Selangor who played very well in the first 20 minutes…but football is a game of 90 minutes. Rangel was a marked man and could not produce his best. However, he did his best against his former team and he was also playing his first competitive match for Terengganu,” added Abdula Rahman, who is fondly called “Cikgu” in the football fraternity.
“Sarawak are always are difficult team to beat at home. They have lost some players but you have to look at their match against Felda and you will know what I mean. They have a bunch of fighters who never give up till the end. This is what they did against Felda and came off with a point in an away match. To me that’s an achievement.
“After our win over Selangor we have to look for points in our first away match. We are going to Kuching to get a positive result. The win over Selangor is a morale booster to face Sarawak.”
Still, Abdul Rahman is taking a cautious approach for the trip across the South China Sea and called on his players to be “fully focused” for a positive result.
Photo by Ahmad Ridhuan / www.asiana.my