JOHOR BARU: Coach Ralf Borges Ferreira is clear that Premier I contenders Pahang are not all systems go yet after watching his team draw 1-1 with Premier II’s Johor in a friendly match Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan last Saturday.
The Brazilian said that he had to work extra hard to get his team to adapt to the 3-5-2 system of play.
“The players have yet to come to grips with it. They are finding it odd but this system is here to stay,” said Ferreira from Kuantan yesterday.
But Pahang’s Brazilian midfielder Helton Soares Pereira – grandson of former Brazilian great Didi – warmed Ferreira’s heart by scoring the goal against Johor off a free kick.
“Helton is still trying to settle down but overall he had a good game. He scored the goal and it is a good sign that there is more to come from him,” said Ferreira.
Playing the new system, Ferreira has made several positional changes for the players to get the best out of the team.
Skipper Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi takes on a new role.
The former international midfielder is now being tried out as a sweeper with international Subri Sulong and seasoned campaigners Shahrulnizam Sahat on the flanks.
“The players will take some time to adapt to the system.
“But they will be all right after playing more matches,” said Ferreira.
Last night, Pahang played against SKMK, a Premier II team from Kelantan.
In the match, they also tried out Dutchman Frank van Eijs, who has played for Scottish Premier League’s Dundee FC.
A central defender, Van Eijs last played for Qing Dao Hai Lifeng in the Chinese League.
Today, Pahang will leave for Malacca for a quadrangular.
Besides the hosts, the others in the fray are Brunei and the Singapore Under-23 team.