PETALING JAYA: It’s a do-or-die mission for the PKNP football team – beat the drop or face the possibility of being disbanded.
And coach Abu Bakar Fadzim is feeling the heat as his charges brace for a battle for survival in their last seven matches in the Super League.
“The players are clear about what they have to do. The relegation battle is something we have to go through and we need character to pull through,” said the charismatic coach, fondly known as “Burn”.
“President (Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin) has told us to stay in the Super League. If we survive, there’ll be a PKNP team next season. If we don’t, you might not see us because relegation means no sponsorship.
“This season, we’ve been struggling to get the balance right between offence and defence. We’ve conceded 30 goals in 15 matches and only scored 16. That’s not good enough.
“I’ve told the players what I feel. I know it’s a challenge but it’s time for us to wake up and get good results from now on.”
PKNP begin their survival mission against table toppers Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at the Manjung Municipal Council Stadium on June 14.
Abu Bakar believes his players have the burning desire to snatch a point and even a win.
“JDT are unbeaten in the league and for them, a win will strengthen their bid for the title.
“They’ll surely field their best 11 but my boys are battling for survival.
“I hope there are no injuries when my players return from their Hari Raya break. I need all of them to be on their toes. This is a battle that demands passion, character and intelligence.”
PKNP have signed Nazirul Afif Ibrahim and Syazwan Zaipol Bahari on loan from Perak and have also replaced centreback Siyovush Asrorov and midfielder Thomas Abbey with Pedro Victor and Ramon Silva respectively.
“Syazwan played with us when we were in the FAM League and Premier League. He knows the struggle we went through and he’ll be vital in our fight to avoid relegation.
“Pedro and Ramon have been with us for a month now, and they understand our style of play. I need Ramon, Yashir (Pinto) and Giancarlo (Rodrigues) to get more goals. Not to forget our local boys like Hafiz (Ramdan) and Fazrul (Hazli Kadri).
“I need all the players to deliver.”
The Manjung-based side are currently 11th in the12-team league with 12 points. PKNP have won three and lost nine matches so far.
The last two teams in the Super League table will be relegated.
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