JOHOR BARU: Johor FC have lost yet another of their best players - international Eddie Helmi Manan - before the second-round first-leg Super League playoff against Premier II champions Public Bank at the Selayang Municipal Stadium tonight.
Eddie received a nasty kick on his right knee in the first-round second-leg playoff match against Kelantan at Kota Barus Sultan Mohd IV Stadium last Saturday.
Johor FC coaching and technical director Ronald Smith said Eddie could not train yesterday and was in no condition to take the field.
Eddie could not train, let alone run, said Smith.
Eddie is the second casualty in the Johor FC side after former national midfielder Idris Karim. Idris will be a non-starter tonight after being red carded in the 0-1 defeat by Kelantan on Saturday.
Despite the defeat, Johor FC advanced to the second round after winning the penalty shootout 4-2 with the aggregate score tied at 1-1. Johor FC won the first-leg in Pasir Gudang, also by a 1-0 margin.
To Smith, though, the show must go on.
You play every three days and you dont get to work with the players. Neither do the injured players have time to recover, said the Australian, adding that teams with the bigger squads will benefit from playing such a hectic schedule.
Inclusive of the playoffs and the Malaysia Cup, teams like Johor FC will be playing 12 matches in 36 days ... which is equivalent to half the season in five weeks when you compare to the 24 league matches you play in one season.
He said teams like Perak, Kedah and Pahang - all of whom have big squads - have the edge in such situations. It is a lesson to us and we will be wiser from now on.