SHAH ALAM: A long-term injury to new signing Norhakim Hassan and the soon-to-be-scheduled centralised training for the national Under-19 boys team have got Selangor coach B. Sathianathan wringing his hands in frustration.
Almost half of the Selangor II squad – the feeder side to Sathia’s team – will be involved in the centralised training.
Even though the start of the season is more than a month away, the former national coach was not happy during the pre-match press conference of the Selangor Asia Challenge, which starts today at the Shah Alam Stadium.
The 61-year-old said Norhakim, who was signed from Perak, is out for the whole season with an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and he wanted to draft in one of the Selangor II wingers into the main squad.
He is also looking to draft in a leftback from the second team, Ahmad Zikri Mohd Khalili, but it looks like that might not happen if the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have their way.
“There are players from Selangor II but I have been made to understand that the FAM will use these players for the AFC Under-19 team, which are led by Brad Maloney, ” Sathianathan told reporters at a press conference here.
“If a player is not there in the team, it is like we do not have extra players. So, I have to make preparations for a second back-up. I asked the management because we cannot rely on Selangor II.
“If FAM call up these players, it depends on the management. If they allow these players to go, we do not have many in the position. I have to talk to them.”
Asked if Norhakim would be released due to his long-term injury, Sathianathan said that was up to the management, too.
The former Kelantan and Armed Forces coach would like to add one or two more players into the first team, and it is rumoured that former national leftback Fitri Omar is being eyed to strengthen the wingback position.
However, any additions can only be decided by the Selangor management.
“I just have to wait for the green light from the management.
“What I want is, I want a player. That is all. It looks good with the young boys from Selangor II but as I said, will they be there when I need them?” asked Sathianathan.
“If I keep a player on the sidelines, many would make noise that he is not playing but if I release him, people would say I am stupid for releasing him. It’s a lose-lose situation so I will not comment, ” he said.
In the Selangor Asia Challenge, Selangor will be facing Indonesian club Persib Bandung today and Thai club True Bangkok United on Sunday.
“It is a great opportunity to test the players before the league starts and also a chance for the young players to show their talents, ” said Sathianathan.
“The expectations from the fans are very high, but I will keep mine low.
“Everyone needs to understand that this is just the pre-season. Results are not that important, it’s the performance.”
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