Wednesday October 10, 2012
Tenaga lose player for third time
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional must feel like they are jinxed when it comes to the TNB Cup final.
In last year’s and 2009 finals, they did not have the services of skipper and defender Mohd Sallehin Ghani due to suspension and injury respectively.
And now, for the third time, they’ve lost another valuable player – prolific striker Faizal Saari , who is also the leading scorer with 20 goals.
The 21-year-old Terengganu player suffered a hamstring injury in the semi-finals, return-leg match against Sapura last Sunday.
Faizal could yet win his second top scorer award as his closest rival, KL Hockey Club (KLHC) defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, has scored 16 goals – all from penalty corners.
Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini is getting kind of used to losing a key player whenever they make the final.
“We will definitely miss Faizal in the final as he is our main scorer,” said the former international, who added that it would be risky to field Faizal as he might aggravate the injury.
“I don’t want to jeopardise his career because of one match. I must think of his future. He is a national player and his services are crucial to the Malaysian team.”
Saiful obviously feels that the team is not all about one man. “Afterall, we didn’t have Sallehin in the 2009 final but we still won the overall title,” he said.
While Saiful has to deal with the loss of a key player, KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj is fretting about whether his aging players can stand the grind of playing three matches in a week.
“Some of my players are old ... I hope they can rise to the occasion for the final,” said Dharmaraj, whose team played their semi-finals matches against Maybank last Thursday and Sunday.
Dharmaraj holds Tenaga in high regard, saying they look solid in every department.
“Tenaga goalkeeper S. Kumar is playing exceptionally well and my forwards will face a real challenge in scoring goals,” he said.