UNHAPPY: Terengganu MB demands to know why team have been playing badly
TERENGGANU'S No 1 football fan, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said is far from happy with the team's recent performances. And he wants to know the reasons before they play Vietnam's Song Lam Nghe An FC in an AFC Cup Group F match in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow.
The Mentri Besar, who admits to being embarrassed by the team's performance in the 2-1 home defeat to Sime Darby FC in the FA Cup semi-final first-leg tie on Saturday, said he would meet with FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh, who is also team manager, and head coach Mat Zan Mat Aris today.
Speaking at his residence on Sunday after presenting cash incentives to state athletes who have qualified for the London Olympics, Ahmad said Terengganu are no longer the team they used to be.
"I was at the stadium watching Terengganu take on Premier League side Sime Darby on Saturday and at half time, I went into the players' dressing room to tell them I was disappointed with their performance," said Ahmad.
"I noticed that most of the players did not perform to their true capabilities. There were also a few players on the pitch who should not have been allowed to play at all that night."
But Ahmad said it is not over yet for the FA Cup defending champions as they have every chance to overturn the 2-1 deficit in the return leg at Selayang Stadium on May 1.
"I feel it is better for me to meet with the team manager and coach to try and work out a solution to the current problems which include the resentment of the management by some supporters recently.
"We are also going to talk about how important the AFC Cup is to us compared to the FA Cup and perhaps, find a way to make sure we will be playing in the FA Cup final again this year," he added.
Meanwhile, coach Mat Zan said he may have no choice but to rest some regular players for the match against the Vietnam champions.
"Players like Ashaari (Shamsuddin), Shukor (Jusoh), Manaf (Mamat), Muslim (Ahmad), Faizal (Mohamad), (Francis) Doe and (Erisson) Biano have been playing almost three matches a week since last month and are as good as burnt out by now," said Mat Zan.
"But it is crucial for us to win over Song Lam (Nghe An) as a win will almost guarantee us a passage into the second round and we are not going to miss this golden chance too."
However, Mat Zan said midfielder Ismail Faruqi and defender Zubir Azmi, who missed the Sime Darby match through suspension, are available to play tomorrow.
"Both players were sorely missed on Saturday but the good thing is they should be fresh and well rested to help us secure full points on Wednesday (tomorrow)."