BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Just weeks into the Red Giants' pre-season preparations, head coach B. Satiananthan is already facing a headache with regard to his charges' availability.
Weeks earlier, he spoke glowingly of his players' eagerness to start work on their fitness. But when Goal visited their practice session on Wednesday night, several of their key players were notably absent.
According to the experienced trainer, Halim Saari, Syazwan Zainon and Brendan Gan have been rested from training due to minor injuries.
"Syazwan and Halim are nursing knocks, while Brendan is feeling a little sore, so I'm resting him for a while before he can come back."
However, on the question of star striker Rufino Segovia, his outlook was more grim, although he declined to explain about the issue in detail.
The Spaniard had been sidelined for most of the 2019 season for an injury to his Achilles tendon, but had seemingly recovered towards the end of the season, before joining the pre-season training. However, just one week in, reports surfaced that the 2018 Super League top-scorer was injured again.
"I'm waiting for the final medical report. He still can't do what his teammates can, so we wait and see what the doctor will say. We hope he can come back before the season starts. It's a complication from his earlier operation."
At least, his concerns over the left back position have been relieved by the new players joining the team. Last season, Prabakaran Kandasamy and loanee Fandi Othman proved inconsistent, most glaringly in their Malaysia Cup semi-final tie against JDT.
"Praba is one of the players I have, but I also have Tamil [Maran Manimaran], Safuwan (Singapore international Safuwan Baharudin) can play there too. There's no problem anymore in that position.
"Furthermore, I can call up any of the Selangor reserve team boys. Admittedly, good left backs are rare in the country," said Satiananthan.
Satiananthan. Photo by Malaysian Football League
Interestingly, Wednesday's session was also joined by one of their youth players; Faris Kamardin. The diminutive attacker was spotted training alongside his seniors wearing number 17, the number used by highly-influential former player Amri Yahyah, who departed the club after the 2019 season ended. In 2019 Faris played for the Red Giants' Youth Cup (U-19) team, while occasionally training with the first team.
"I'd wanted to field him since last year, but he kept getting called up to the Malaysia U-19 training. If I could use him back then, he would have played more often than several of the more senior players.
"He's a good player, he has speed, he can dribble well and he works hard. With me, I want players who help in defending situations," revealed Satiananthan.
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