Turtles coach Nafuzi wants defenders to buck up before restart


  • Football
  • Sunday, 09 Aug 2020

Slim win: Terengganu’s Syafik Ismail (front) scored the winner in the friendly match against Kelantan United. – Photo courtesy of Terengganu FC

PETALING JAYA: East coast side Terengganu’s defence is akin to sand castles being washed away by the rising tide.

And it has left coach Nafuzi Zain with the unenviable task of shoring up the porous backline before the M-League resumes on Aug 26.

The Turtles have let in nine goals in three Super League matches before the Covid-19 imposed shutdown that saw all sports activities coming to a halt.

Their defensive lapses left much to be desired too despite their 1-0 win over Premier League side Kelantan United in a friendly at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Friday. The winner was scored by 20-year-old Syafik Ismail.

Although pleased with his team’s overall display after five months of football inactivity, Nafuzi said the defenders could have performed better.

“It’s a good sign to keep a clean sheet but there’s plenty of room for us to improve, ” said Nafuzi.

“I have to admit that our defensive record is not good compared to our attacking prowess.

“We have scored eight goals in the league which is very good but have conceded nine.

“We have been working on improving the defence and it seems to be yielding some results.

“From the friendly on Friday we know where the weaknesses are. We should play better in the next match.”

One of the positives that Nafuzi saw during the friendly was their enthusiasm.

“The match showed that the players still have a clear idea on what they need to do on the pitch despite missing out training due to the pandemic, ” he said.

The Turtle have three more friendlies lined-up against Premier League sides Kelantan (Aug 11) and Selangor II (Aug 14) and fellow Super League side Selangor (Aug 15).

Terengganu will resume their Super League campaign on Aug 22, instead of on Aug 26, to play out their postponed game against Petaling Jaya City and Nafuzi is confident his players will be back to their best for the match.

“The players did struggle a bit in the first friendly but I’m confident that they will get better.

“We have three more friendlies and the objective is to keep improving before the season restarts, ” said Nafuzi.

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