PETALING JAYA: Perak have been dealt an early blow before their Malaysia Cup opener against Kelantan United.
Their pillar of strength in defence, Anthony Golec, has left the team. The tall defender, who decided not to renew his contract, will be heading home to Australia.
However, coach Mehmet Durakovic is not pressing the panic button as he can bank on the experienced 30-year-old Idris Ahmad. Durakovic has also roped in Bosnia’s Tarek Isic, who is 1.92m tall, from Perak’s feeder team.
“We have to move on and make do with what we have. One leaves, one comes in. We hope whoever plays in his spot can do the job. Right now, we are playing a few games among us to find the right balance, ” said the former Australian international.
“Tarek has trained with us for two weeks. He has done a fairly good job in the feeder team, but it is not easy to come straight into the team. We are also looking at other local players.”
Durakovic also revealed that Brazilian striker Guilherme De Paula, Cambodian international Thierry Chantha Bin and winger Hafiz Ramdan are nursing injuries.
Again, Durakovic is unperturbed and nonchalantly said the locals can step in for them.
“I want to give them a chance and I think this is the best time.
“We want them to step up, turn them from boys to men. Honestly, I’ve been happy with some of them.”
Perak are the favourites against the Premier League side, but Durakovic will not underestimate their opponents when the match gets underway at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh on Nov 7.
“They are there for a reason, we have to respect them. This year’s competition is different, and every game is like a final.
“You lose, you’re finished. Does not matter who we play or face, if you are not committed, disciplined, focused and determined, you’ll be in trouble. There are no favourites in knockout competitions.”
Perak last won the Cup in 2018 when they beat Terengganu 4-1 on penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation time. Kelantan United are making their debut.
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