KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Territories football team are in a fix as they will not have the services of two key players for the Malaysia Games (Sukma).
And it does not help that they have been drawn in the group of death with President’s Cup champions Terengganu and Johor in Group B.
FT open their campaign against Johor tomorrow at 4.30pm at the Stadium Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris in Tanjung Malim and will wrap up their fixtures against Terengganu on Sept 12 at the same venue.
The team’s two star players – leftback Mohd Azahar Apandi and centreback Nabil Hakim Bokhari – have been called up to represent the national Under-19 for a friendly match in Oman.
FT coach Khalid Shahdan (pic) said losing two key players would dilute their chances of winning their first Sukma football gold.
“Our best achievement is winning silver at the Sarawak Sukma two years after losing to Perak,” said the former international.
“We’ll face a difficult task to reach the quarter-finals as we are in the group of death and we’ve not done well in the President’s Cup.”
Khalid added that they had to make last minute changes to beef up the team following the absence of Nabil and Azahar.
“We have called up four players – two from UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara) and one each from Police and Felda United to strengthen our team,” said Khalid.
The two players from UiTM are Wan Mohd Fatah Wan Ali and Mohd Shafiq Al Hafiz Dewawi. The other two players are Mohd Akram Hassan (Police) and Ainol Iskandar Mahsun (Felda United).
A total of 14 teams will feature in the men’s football competition and defending champions Perak are in Group A with Sarawak, Perlis and Negri Sembilan while Group C comprises Sabah, Melaka and Penang. Pahang, Kedah, Kelantan and Selangor are in Group D.
Besides Tanjung Malim, the other venues for football competition are at Manjung Municipal Council Stadium, Navy Stadium in Lumut and Kerian Municipal Council Stadium.
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