* Two straight defeats is bad but not the end of the world, says Satianathan
* ‘I will go if I fail to win at least one Cup’
* Jerry’s (Palacios) workrate is second to none
There is no question of head coach B. Satianathan leaving the team after two straight defeats plunged the Armed Forces to the bottom of the 12-team Super League – ahead of Sime Darby FC on goal difference, both pointless and without a goal to show.
Armed Forces have conceded four from their 2-0 defeats to Kelantan and Perak while Sime Darby lost 2-0 to Perak and 3-0 to Felda United and are the only teams yet to score and yet to get a point after two matches.
But Armed Forces head coach B. Satianathan still has faith in his team despite the defeats and made it clear that “it is not the end of the world” when the M-League has just started.
“Two straight defeats is bad but it has not rattled the team. It is certainly not the end of the world. One win will put us back on track and get the team into rhythm…that is all you need,” said Satianathan, a former international.
“At this stage it has been a topsy-turvy run for most of the team. You need some matches to get into stride and only then you will know the challengers. So let’s wait and see what transpires from now on.”
With a string of injuries to his side Satianathan is bracing himself for another uphill battle this Saturday when Armed Forces return to their old ‘home’ venue – the Selayang Stadium – to face second-placed Felda United in an away match. Felda United are unbeaten at Selayang – a 3-3 draw against Sarawak in their first match followed by a 3-0 win over Sime Darby.
Satianathan, however, admitted that the miserable start to the new season is not what he had expected but neither has he “lost faith” in his players. For Satianathan the players have “given their best” except to score.
He singled out Jerry Palacios – the big name from Honduras- as one player whose workrate is second to none but has not been able to hit the back of the net.
“He (Jerry) is a big name in the team and people expect him to score. Jerry is trying his best and knows of the high expectations on him. Sometimes you try too hard to score and create pressure on yourself,” added Satianathan, who has been given a target to win at least one Cup this season.
“That is my KPI and I am answerable to my bosses if I fail to achieve the target. I don’t know why this fuss after two defeats and two matches in the league. The season has just begun and there is a long way to go.
“The Cup competitions have yet to get underway and here you are answering questions which I believe should not be asked in the first place. But I am used this scenario in Malaysian football,” said Satianathan who is also concerned with Nigerian defender Obinna Nwaneri who is involved in an off-pitch battle with his former team Kelantan over unpaid salary.
“This has affected his football to a certain extent. I hope the matter can be resolved at the earliest for the best of all parties.”
A plus factor for the match against Felda United is the return of injured Norshahrul Idlan Talaha. The national striker did not take the field against Perak because of a hamstring injury. Others on the crock list are Christie Jayaseelan (hamstring) and Affizie Faisal Mamat (ankle).
After the league match against Felda United, Armed Forces will travel to Kuala Terengganu to face T-Team in a first round FA Cup match on Feb 28.
Armed Forces have also former Perak striker Adulafees Abdulsalam, Australian midfielder Mario Karlovic and Terengganu-born Shukur Jusoh who played for Selangor last season.
Satianathan reiterated that this year’s squad is better than last year’s. Armed Forces finished 10th in the Super League last season.