The LIONSXII theme song

Captain Isa hopes to make ‘last game’ count

Captain Isa hopes to make ‘last game’ count

By Kenneth Tan

Set for surgery to fix his troublesome Achilles tendon which will rule him out for the rest of the season, the LionsXII skipper is raring to go for tonight’s clash against PKNS

SINGAPORE, 22 March 2014: Tonight’s game against Selangor PKNS will be an emotional one for Isa Halim.

The LionsXII skipper will be going under the knife to fix his persistent Achilles’ tendon problem in the ensuing week and will likely play no further part in the LionsXII’s title defence. Isa however, remains optimistic of a return before the Malaysia Cup campaign.

“This is a long-term injury and I’ve been playing through pain,” he shared.

“The operation means I should be out for the rest of the league campaign. Maybe I can come back for a few games, I’m not sure. But for now, I’m looking forward to come back in time for the Malaysia Cup.”

It has been a tough few weeks for the reigning Malaysian Super League (MSL) champions having chalked up a solitary victory in their last six games. However, Isa is keen to move forward and learn from the valuable lessons which they were dealt with.

“Against Kelantan, that was fully my mistake and I take full responsibility for that,” he said.

“We have to move on; I’ve already done so and I hope the fans can also follow suit. Against Sarawak, we just didn’t turn up as a team that day. Honestly we came up short and did not manage to get to the ball first. The opponents had more desire and we can learn one or two things from there – playing at home, we need to show the opponent who is the boss.”

Indeed showing who is boss will be a key factor to deciding this game against PKNS, especially with the Singapore side not tasting victory in their last three home matches. Isa believes that strong characters are needed in order to achieve a much-needed victory.

“Of course we need to bounce back,” he elaborated.

“There’re doubts about whether we can repeat the success of last season, given that we didn’t suffer any defeats at Jalan Besar. I’m not saying we can’t, but we have to start believing in ourselves to play well and dominate games. Sometimes even after scoring or taking the lead, we still don’t believe we can win. We need to believe that we can beat any team that comes here.”

Meanwhile in his expected prolonged absence, he hopes that the possible new midfield pairing of Zulfahmi Arifin and Firdaus Kasman will be able to take the game by the scruff of their necks for the rest of the season.

“Zul and Firdaus are both good and technically very gifted players,” he shared.

“Now they’ll need to show that apart from having good individual skills, they can also be more responsible.”

Despite having the side lying at an unfamiliar ninth position thus far, Isa remains unperturbed and wants his side to take a game at a time in order to prop up the table.

“For me, I always concentrate on the next game (instead of looking at the table),” he shared.

“I always think that as long as we win, we don’t have to care how others fare.  Although there are people we say we’re far behind, but looking at the points (separating the top few sides), it suggests otherwise. A win in this game can really help us close the gap and we need to win all the home games from now on.”

This game against Selangor PKNS will kick-off at 7.45pm tonight at Jalan Besar Stadium.  Tickets for the game are still available and fans can get them via TicketBooth. For those who are unable to obtain tickets, you can catch the game ‘LIVE’ on StarHub Channel 201 (SuperSports Arena).

Do support the boys as they aim to get their MSL season back on track!