PETALING JAYA: Being a feeder team does have its drawbacks – you don’t get to be promoted and you cannot take part in the Malaysia Cup – but Perak II coach Abu Bakar Fadzim does not mind the challenge.
In the first four games of the Premier League, he did get to work with first-team players like midfielders Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zamri and Firdaus Saiyadi. But the coach got to see them on only match day, and not during training at the Chemor Training Centre in Perak.
Even his Australian-Turkish goalkeeper Yaren Sozer is training with the first team, though he is not registered to play in the Super League.
Instead, they join the feeder team on match day, and he has to make sure that they understand his tactics and chemistry before the match.
Of the three, only Khairul, better known as “Beto”, has played in all matches for 90 minutes.
“To be honest, it is a bit difficult because they are not part of our training, but they can assimilate with my first 11 because of their experience. Their technique and skills are second to none. All the players in the first team are technically brilliant.
“That’s why they are second in the Super League,” said the coach fondly known as Burn.
“Adapting at first was tough, but we are now used to this arrangement. Now that the league will be completed in seven games, we hope the players from the first team who are not in the 20-man list for their matches will be allowed to join us.
“We need all the experience we can get. You have to note that 63% of my players have had no experience in the Premier League. So, we hope things will get better when the league resumes. We aim to finish in top eight, or at least 10th, in the 12-team league.”
Abu Bakar’s team now are sitting at the bottom of the league with just one point from four matches.
He hopes the players will work their way to peak fitness and give their all in the next seven matches.
His foreign players – French midfielder Sacha Petshi, Brazilian striker Bruno Bezerra and Bosnian defender Tarek Isic – need to buck up if they want to stay in the league.
“I have spoken to them personally. They have to be more authoritative in possession. When they are confident, the young local boys will have the belief that they can do it too.”