PETALING JAYA: Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Bojan Hodak is keeping his fingers crossed for no more mishaps as they gear up for the Malaysia Cup on Aug 13.
The Southern Tigers will be without striker Jorge Diaz who returned to Argentina to be with his ailing father on Wednesday.
To add to Hodak’s headache, midfielders Mohd Irfan Fazail and Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal are injured. And eight of his players – Mahali Jasuli, Mohd Aidil Zafuan Razak, Fadhli Shas, Amri Yahyah, Safiq Rahim, Asraruddin Putra Omar, Safee Sali and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha – are on assignment with the national team.
The national team played a friendly against Tajikistan in Dushanbe on Friday and will return to Malaysia on Sunday. Hodak will only have three days to work with his team before they open their campaign against Kelantan, last year’s finalists, in a Group C match.
“I can’t afford any more bad news so close to the Malaysia Cup. I hope our players with the national team return injury-free,” said Hodak, a former Kelantan coach.
“Diaz’s father is very sick and we have given him leave to be with his family.
“As for Irfan, I fielded him in several friendly matches to prepare him for the Malaysia Cup. Unfortunately, he picked up an ACL injury and will miss the tournament.”
“Now, I have only three days to prepare the players. There’s nothing much one can do in three days,” said Hodak, who led JDT to their first Super League title this season.