PETALING JAYA: The last ten minutes of Felda United’s 3-2 victory against Melaka at the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka, Pahang was nerve-wracking for coach Nidzam Jamil.
His team were on cruise control as they were leading 3-0 thanks to a double from Argentinian striker Nicolas Velez (seventh and 63rd minute) and one from former Singaporean international Khairul Amri in the 15th minute.
However, Melaka came to life in the last ten minutes of the game thanks to goals from Colombian midfielder Romel Morales (81st) and Nigerian striker Uche Agba (88th), but the Fighters held on to their lead to register their first three points of the season.
Nidzam was certainly the centre of attention as he constantly barked at his players and grimaced whenever his team conceded a chance.
“Imagine if you are driving without your seat belt, and suddenly there is a police roadblock. You would panic and that’s what I felt, ” said Nidzam.
“That last ten minutes were scary but fortunately, my boys went through it well.
“Our defence has to be more sturdy. The three points are great, but we have to learn from this.”
Nidzam is certainly hell-bent on making the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium a fortress. They have not lost at home yet after drawing 1-1 against PJ City.
Even though as a coach he was disappointed that his team conceded the two, he was happy to see the character and work-rate shown by his players.
“Our opponents had Apek (Khairul Fahmi Che Mat), Copot (Safiq Rahim), and both their foreign strikers (Uche Agba and Sony Norde) were good – but our players showed character, ” said Nidzam.
“They worked extremely hard, and we need this every week. The players’ decision making on the field was not consistent, especially when they are tired, but it can be improved.
He also had special praise for Khairul, who has now scored two goals in three games.
“My son is a big fan of (Khairul) Amri. As a coach, I am happy to work with a player of his quality, ” said Nidzam.
His team will be travelling to Iskandar Puteri to face the reigning Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim on Saturday at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium.
Felda are seventh in the league with four points, while Melaka are third with six points.
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