JOHOR BARU: Johor FC are already five players down for their away Premier I match on Saturday against bottom-of-the-table Terengganu, who could well destroy the club side's flickering hopes of qualifying for next year's Super League without going through the playoffs.
Goalkeeper Mohd Sany Fahmi and midfielder Eddie Helmi Abdul Manan are with the national squad for a playing tour of the Czech Republic while Australian defender Ivan Zelic, utility player Rezal Zambery Yahya and striker Jon Angelucci are all under suspension.
Zelic will be serving out a two-match suspension for a red card offence in the match against Kelantan. Angelucci, the league's leading scorer with 15 goals, will begin a two-match suspension for having received his sixth booking this season in the match against Perlis last Saturday.
Rezal, a former National Under-23 player, has been booked three times.
Johor FC's list of non-starters could grow to six if defender Khaidir Mohd Dom, known for his high work rate and aggressive play, does not recover in time from an ankle injury.
The club's secretary, Tahir Hamdan, said that without the five key players, the going would be tough.
“Although Terengganu are at the bottom of the table, they have proved to be a tough nut to crack. They have nothing to lose and we will be up against a young team with lots of guts and determination,” he said.
Johor FC have brought into their side President's Cup goalkeeper Mohd Fadly Abdul Hadi because reserve G. Jeevanathan is still nursing an ankle injury and needs at least one month more before he can return to action.
Johor FC are in ninth place in the 13-team league with 21 points from 18 matches while Terengganu have only eight points from 17 matches.