PETALING JAYA: For Kedah’s captain Baddrol Bakhtiar, the training field at the Darulaman Stadium in Alor Setar was a heavenly sight.
That’s no surprise.
The gifted footballer has not played for more than three months and getting back on the field was a godsend.
Even though the Super League team are still embroiled with salary issues, the 32-year-old is just glad to play football again and the first day of training yesterday signalled new hope for Baddrol and his teammates.
“I am just happy to train again. I did not feel any awkwardness and the only thing I have been telling myself is to strictly follow the standard operating procedures,” said the playmaker.
“If we all follow procedures, who knows, the league could start earlier. As for the off-field matters, I do not have much comment. The management is handling it, and as footballers, we just want to concentrate on what is happening on the field.”
After four games, the Red Eagles are seventh in the league with four points after beating Selangor (2-0), held by UiTM (1-1) and losing to Johor Darul Ta’zim (0-1) and Terengganu (3-4).
Before the season started, Kedah made a flurry of star signings such Hadin Azman, Kpah Sherman, Amin Nazari, Tchetche Kipre and Irfan Zakaria, and many expected them to have a flying start.
However, the side led by Aidil Sharin, showed inconsistent form instead and things need to be rectified in the next three months before the league resumes.
Baddrol said the team will have to take it one game at a time to succeed in the league.
“Whether you like it or not, we have to play seven games in a month. The league has decided, and we will be ready for it.
“For me, this is a new challenge. We cannot be moaning over the fact that our bodies and spirit would take a battering as we have to play week in, week out in a month.
“As captain, I would advise my teammates to watch their fitness, and also to take good care of their bodies. After a long period, we are back on the field, so we must know how to take care of our muscles and joints during this period.”
Even though Baddrol is on the wrong side of 30, he remains a vital part of Kedah. If the team are to have a successful season, they will need their talisman to keep the club ticking with his vision and intelligence.
But first, they need to settle the almost five months of arrears owed to their players. That could well bring out the best in them.
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