FFT's MSL Preview: T-Team

The Terengganu club enjoyed more than their own share of luck to return to the Malaysia Super League (MSL) this season, but now the actual part of staying up with the help of an overhauled squad begins.

TEAM PROFILE

T-TEAM 2016 TRANSFERS

 
IN:
 

  • Makan Konate (Persib Bandung)
  • Rohit Chand (Persib Jakarta)
  • Abdoulaye Maiga (Sriwijiya)
  • Naim Zakaria (Harimau Muda)
  • Akhir Bahari (Harimau Muda)
  • Ilham Amirullah Razali (Harimau Muda)
  • Wan Ahmad Amirzafran Nadris (Harimau Muda)
  • Radhi Yusof (Terengganu)
  • Abdullah Suleiman (Terengganu)
  • Ramzi Sufian (Unattached)

 
OUT:
 

  • Faizal Muhammad
  • Shahril Saari
  • Rosdi Zakaria
  • Nik Zul Aziz Nawawi
  • Azmi Hamzah
  • Nuraliff Zainal Abidin
  • Syam Shahril Ghulam
  • Faizuddin Manjur Ahmad
  • Josip Milardovic
  • Sadriddin Abdullaev
  • Farhod Tadiyev

Rarely have two back to back results given rise to such contrasting emotions.

A final day loss in August in Kuantan deprived T-Team of the automatic promotion spot that seemed to be in the bag. Their very next game, however, was a 2-1 win play-off win over ATM that sent the east coast side back up to the Malaysia Super League.

Promotion usually means that a couple of weeks to celebrate and let it all sink in before preparing for greater challenges ahead. Yet in the case of T-Team, two weeks is all they have. No time to scout players, no time to negotiate, no time to look overseas, no time to do anything but try to do the best you can.

It's going to be a tough few weeks for the side. Just 14 days after the playoff victory, the latest member of the Malaysia Super League will kick off life in the top tier with a tricky away trip to the powerhouse that is Pahang.

There are a number of new players ready to help. Naim Zakaria, Akhir Bahari, Iilham Amirullah Razali and Ahmad Amirzafran Wan Nadris all come in from Harimau Muda to show what they can do in the big time.

As always, T-Team’s foreign contingent is going to be crucial in the coming months. Tomislav Busic, the former Croatian under-21 international who scored the all-important second goal in the play-off win, was already at the club when Rahmad Darmawan arrived, and the coach has already said he is looking for new foreign players.

The boss will know plenty about the other members of the foreign contingent as there is something of a shared Indonesian connection.

Makan Konate – who should be able to contribute goals from midfield – and Abdoulaye Maiga – who should help T-Team take command of the aerial battles at the back and from set pieces – have both crossed the Straits of Malacca after stints in the Indonesia Super League. The Malian pair must quickly settle into life in Malaysia.

But much depends on coach Rahmad. The former military man has had some success in Indonesia with various clubs but this is his first time outside the country. Like everyone else, he has to get to grips not only with his new surroundings, but life in the top tier.

The win over ATM was welcome, even though it was not much of a surprise given the goings-on in the opposition ranks. Nevertheless, it should provide confidence after the disappointment of last season, and if there is any comfort, it is the fact that T-team have already started their season.

FFT's MSL PREDICTION: 12th

After already struggling to overcome ATM in the MSL playoff, T-Team are set to struggle when facing even tougher top-flight opponents.

COACH CORNER – Rahman Darmawan

T-Team weren't even supposed to be competing in the top flight this term, but their Indonesian coach intends for them to stay now that they are there. Read all about his plans here.

STAR MAN – Hasbullah Awang

Despite seeing his side relegated last year, veteran captain Hasbullah believes they are equipped to secure top-flight survival this term.

Click here to read his thoughts on the new season.

VIEW FROM THE FANS

This ardent supporter believes the imports have raised the quality in the squad, perhaps even enough to save the team from a second straight relegation.

Click here to read his thoughts ahead of the new season.

YOUNG GUN – Nor Hakim

His skipper confirms he has fully recovered from injury and thinks he could be ready to play a leading part in T-Team's bid for survival. Read Hasbullah's praise for Hakim here