Football

Published: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 3:33:00 PM
Updated: Friday January 17, 2014 MYT 10:00:43 PM

Forces battle viral fever ahead of Sarawak match

Juan Arostegui (left) scored eight goals in five of his pre-season matches for Armed Forces.

Juan Arostegui (left) scored eight goals in five of his pre-season matches for Armed Forces.

PETALING JAYA: Armed Forces coach B. Sathianathan has a big day on Saturday.

The former national team coach will have his newborn son’s naming ceremony in the afternoon before his team start their Super League campaign against Sarawak at the Selayang Stadium on Saturday night.

Sathia said family is important, but his mind is firmly focused on the match against the Premier League champions.

“I’m a professional and my family understands my situation, plus the ceremony will be held earlier before the kick-off,” said Sathia.

“My thoughts are on the team and the match. We have some problems but I believe my players will be able to put up a good showing.”

The Gladiators, who had a strong pre-season, will be without midfield maestro Bruno Martelotto who is out with ankle injury and skipper Hairuddin Omar who has yet to recover from a viral fever.

The viral fever, picked up after the team’s pre-season match against Home United on Jan 6, has also affected midfielders Ahmad Fauzi Saari, Rezal Zambery Yahya, Mohd Affize Faisal Mamat and defender Mohd Fitri Omar.

Sathia will be banking on Argentine Juan Arostegui to bring his pre-season form to the match. The 33-year-old striker had scored eight goals in five of his pre-season matches for Forces.

The 55-year-old coach added that Dutch coach Roberts Albert, who helmed Sarawak for the past three years, has turned the team into a formidable unit.

The Crocs have retained most of their Premiership League winning side for their return to the Super League, including Bosnian striker Muamer Salibasic.

“I had four players missing five days of training because of a viral fever and it affected our preparation. The players are okay to play but their fitness is affected,” said Sathia.

“I rate this Sarawak team highly; they won the Premier League unbeaten last season and they have good local players and foreigners. This match is going to be a hard-fought one.”  

Tags / Keywords: football, Armed Forces, Sathianathan, Bruno Martelotto, Juan Arostegui

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