Armed Forces coach B. Sathiananthan, seen here giving instructions to one of his players during a Malaysia Cup match against Lions XII last year, wants a positive response from his players in the up-coming match against Selangor on Saturday night
PETALING JAYA: Armed Forces coach B. Sathianathan is demanding a swift reaction from his players when they take on Selangor in a Super League match at the Selayang Stadium on Saturday night.
Forces lost 4-1 to Pahang last week – their heaviest defeat since being promoted to the Super League in 2013. That was their third league defeat in six matches, leaving them with seven points.
Injuries to striker Marlon James (ankle) and defender K. Reuben (anterior cruciate ligament), coupled with the poor form of first choice goalkeeper Syed Adney Syed Hussein, have left Sathia ruing his luck.
The former national team coach confirmed that third choice goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Azuhar would start against Selangor ahead of second choice Iqbal Mohd Suhaimi following his horror show in Kuantan.
“The players know how disappointed I was after the loss to Pahang ... it was our biggest defeat in the Super League. Now, I want a positive response from the players,” said Sathia on Friday.
“Syed (Adney) has an ankle complaint ... so, I’ve decided to throw Hafizuddin into the deep end. He has been excellent in training and I believe he will rise to the occasion.”
Sathia was quick to point out that he still had faith in his players and that they will have two matches to turn their fortunes around. Otherwise, they will face the axe when the second transfer window opens on March 23.
The 55-year-old coach admitted that the injury problems have caught him off guard, although he believes the team will get better once the crocked players return.
“We’ve had a poor start in the league ... with just two wins after six matches. But that doesn’t make my players bad overnight. It’s still early in the season and we’re actually not that far behind the league leaders,” said Sathia.
Kelantan lead the standings with 12 points while Johor Darul Ta’zim and Terengganu are two points behind.