Shahfiq wants to regain winning feeling at JBS
Jalan Besar Stadium was a fortress last season, as V.Sundramoorthy led the LionsXII to an unbeaten home season and their maiden Malaysian Super League (MSL) title.
The proud record was a badge of honour for Singapore's representatives in Malaysia, but the 22-match unbeaten run ultimately came to an end after a defeat to Pahang FA early last month.
Coupled with a stalemate against Terengganu FA in the ensuing week, there were murmurings that perhaps Jalan Besar was no longer such an intimidating venue to visit.
However, LionsXII striker Shahfiq Ghani was keen to attribute the losses to plain bad luck.
“We did everything well in that two games, it’s just that we couldn’t get the goals that we wanted,” he told FourFourTwo.
Shahfiq himself missed an gilt-edged opportunity right at the death against Terrengganu, but revealed that coach Fandi Ahmad had been allocating more time in training to sharpen his side’s finishing.
The preparations for this upcoming game against Kelantan FA had not been ideal though – with the majority of the LionsXII players playing a part in the national team’s 3-1 loss to Oman away on Wednesday night.
Shahfiq and his teammates spent 13 hours getting back from Muscat and only touched down on local shores last evening.
Fandi will only have time for a light training session just before matchday but the 21-year-old Shahfiq wants his side to gun for the three points on Saturday.
“Of course we need to get the three points, given that we’re playing at our home ground,” he said.
“The players do feel tired after coming back, but with the help of the backroom staff especially our physios who prepare ice baths for us to recover after games, we will be fit enough to play.
No doubt Kelantan is a good side who were runners up in the FA Cup last season, but I always tell myself that there are no easy games in the MSL. With the fans behind us, I believe we can get a result.”
The clash against Kelantan will bring back some good memories for Shahfiq.
In the corresponding fixture last season, the game was heading towards a goalless draw before the young starlet popped up two minutes from time to turn home an Irwan Shah through ball.
“Last year we scored a late goal to beat them,” he recalled.
“That was in front of a big crowd and the feeling was great. Till now I cannot forget that goal, it was against a strong team and Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, who is one of Southeast Asia’s best goalkeepers.”
Photo Credit: Muhammad Yusof/Football Association of Singapore
The clash between LionsXII and Kelantan FA will kick off at 7.45pm on Saturday at Jalan Besar Stadium. There are limited tickets available , do check the LionsXII ticketing page for more details. Alternatively, the game will be televised on Starhub’s SuperSports Arena (Channel 201).