PETALING JAYA: Perak’s P. Ravindran ran rings round his opponents and sped past awestruck defenders to first earn the moniker of “Kinta Express”. Then came M. Nagarajah, another speed demon, to take over the mantle in the silver state.
Now, the latest speeding bullet train to be dubbed Kinta Express is J. Partiban, a key player in coach Mehmet Durakovic’s side.
Sadly, that train has been parked at the sidings for the last three months and could not dazzle the fans.
Now, Partiban is ready to roll out and pick up speed again. For a player who relies on his pace, game time is essential but the 27-year-old has not played any football in three months.
The player from Tambun, Ipoh, is unperturbed, though. He says he has done extra workouts besides the ones given by the team’s fitness coach.
“I have been doing extra work during the movement control order (MCO) and went to the field near my house when the MCO was made conditional. To maintain my pace, I need the field to get the groove and rhythm, ” said Partiban, who also played for sides like Sarawak and Terengganu.
“To be honest, it was tough during the MCO because I could only do indoor workouts, which focused on strength and agility. In May, I went to the field to train my movement and also did sprints.
“I am glad to say, I still have it, but I want to play football. Training is set to resume, and I cannot wait to get started.”
On Monday, the Perak players had their swab tests done and are expected to resume training next Monday when players and staff are given the all-clear.
For Partiban, the swab test was an experience he would never forget, but he was happy to see his mates again.
“We did not talk much because we were told to head home after the test, but seeing them made me realise how much I miss the game.
“I know there will be no contact during training, and as a winger, you need those duels with the wingbacks, which involves lots of body charges and tackles.
“During the no contact period, I will build my strength so I will be ready to face the defenders when the time comes.
The shortened league will be played over one-round instead of two and Perak are currently second with eight points after four matches.
With only seven matches left, Partiban said any team can win the title, and consistency would be the key.
“The short format is going to make the league exciting.
“For players, it will be tiring, but if you plan your recovery and training well, you should be able to cope with it.
“Perak is my home state, so obviously, I want to do my best, which is to get goals and assists at the same time. I would love to win something for the team too, and it can be any of the trophies.”
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