Team Singapore

Turtles not in the best of health

Just last month, they were still top of the Malaysian Super League table.

But Terengganu have picked up only three points in their last five matches and have slipped to fifth, eight points adrift of leaders Selangor.

Terengganu coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim (right) told The New Paper yesterday: "It's not just our recent results that are disappointing, it's the way we drop points, too.

"We were leading PKNS FC 2-0 but allowed them to get a draw, and the same thing happened against T-Team after we took the lead.

"We are not killing off our opponents and we are getting punished for it."

In a bid to revive their season, Terengganu have made two changes to their roster, signing big strikers in Colombian Javier Estupinan (1.90m) and Senegalese Moustapha Dabo (1.86m), while dispensing with Brazilian Marcio Souza and Guinean Mamadou Barry.

But they have yet to open their accounts.

The mood within the state remains sombre after former Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Said, who has played a huge part to improve football, was replaced by Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman.

Abdul Rahman, a Terengganu native, preferred to talk about football than politics.

"We want to get back to winning ways as soon as we can, which means we have to beat LionsXII," the 68-year-old said.

"It will not be easy to break them down now that they have Baihakki (Khaizan) back, but that is their only transfer move so we know enough about their team.

"They have the desire, their wingers are fast, and they have a good striker in Khairul Amri.

"Both teams are in the same position - if we want to win the league, we have to win this match, and I think both teams will go for it."

If there is a pick-me-up fixture, Abdul Rahman looks forward to, it must be tonight's match against the LionsXII.

After all, the former national coach has masterminded four consecutive home victories on Malaysian soil against the LionsXII, all 1-0 wins, albeit while he was coach of PKNS in the last two seasons.

His Midas touch continued after moving to the east coast as Terengganu eked a 0-0 draw when they visited Jalan Besar in February.

He said: "Maybe the players are more up for it because they are playing against Singapore.

"We can train all day and come up with all kinds of tactics, but it is up to those on the pitch to play with commitment and confidence, and execute what they have practised. I believe my players will show up and get us the victory we need."

DAVID LEE