KANGAR: Losing players to the national team will be Perlis’ biggest worry in their fight for an automatic ticket to next year's Super League.
The Northern Lions, who went back on the winning track with a 2-0 win over defending Premier I champions Perak here on Saturday, are set to lose two key midfield players – Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan and skipper Mohd Kaironnisam Shahabuddin.
The duo will join the national training squad tomorrow to prepare for next month’s Asia Premier League Cup.
Coach Norizan Bakar admitted that the absence of the duo would be sorely felt.
“They are indeed the livewire of the team and we will certainly miss their services. Players of their calibre will be hard to replace,” said Norizan.
“National call-up takes priority and it’s no point brooding over their absence. It’s better and more fruitful to start work with those available to me.”
The players likely to stand in for Hazman and Kaironnisam are Zulfakri Ashaari and Rafiz Abu Bakar.
But he will not have the services of seasoned campaigner Feriza Ismail for the next match against Johor FC in Pasir Gudang on Saturday.
The utility player is out on suspension. He picked up his third booking of the season in the match against Perak.
The race for the six automatic berths to next year’s Super League is expected to end in a tight finish. Currently a mere two points separate the seven teams in the top bracket and all of them cannot afford to drop points.
Norizan is glad that his team had gone over a bad patch of not winning a match in four outings before the match against Perak.
“This win over Perak is a very important one after the disappointments in the previous matches. It has given the players a huge dose of confidence,” said Norizan.