Fandi upbeat ahead of Terengganu test
There was plenty of spring in the players’ footsteps at the ITE College Central field on Friday as LionsXII applied the finishing touches in their pre-match preparations ahead of Saturday's Malaysia Super League match against Terengganu.
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Although the Singaporeans lie ninth in a tight league table, head coach Fandi Ahmad is confident his charges will translate their positive performances of late into a second league win of the season.
“It has been quite encouraging to see the boys in good spirits and doing well,” said the former Singapore striker after training.
“They have been attentive to our strategy plans, and the communication and discipline on the pitch are better.
“Despite our league position, we are not demoralised. But tomorrow we must start and finish the game with three points, because one point at home is as good as a loss.”
Terengganu are only three points ahead of the LionsXII despite a position difference of five in the 12-team Malaysian top-flight.
The teams had met once previously in pre-season earlier this year where the Lions succumbed to a 1-3 loss to the Turtles in Kuala Terengganu in January.
Fandi has singled out Paulo Rangel, who moved up north from Super League rivals Selangor this season, as the biggest threat to his team’s hopes of getting their second home win in as many matches.
The Brazilian striker netted a hat-trick against them in that previous meeting and has since scored five goals to be the joint-league top scorer after four rounds.
“Rangel is a very clinical finisher with the team and apart from marking him out, we need to stop the supply to him,” the LionsXII coach said.
After last week’s sterling defensive showing against Felda United in Kuala Lumpur, Fandi faces a selection dilemma in two of his back four positions.
Converted centre-back Zulfahmi looks set to keep his place alongside Madhu Mohana at the expense of Afiq Yunos after the duo kept out the dangerous African trio of Edward Junior Wilson, Zah Rahan Krangar and Ndumba Makeche.
It will be a battle for the right-back spot between versatile defender Wahyudi Wahid and youngster Faris Aizenuddin after Nazrul Nazari was ruled out with a knee injury.