Written By: Kenneth Ho
SINGAPORE, 25 APRIL 2015: LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad shared that the 1-0 win over Sarawak took a load off his shoulders as it gave the team their first win in the league since an opening day victory over PDRM FA.
After the 5-3 win over PDRM, the LionsXII have gone on to draw four and lose three games in the Malaysia Super League (MSL).
However, Khairul Nizam’s header in the 59th minute against Sarawak ended that run and Fandi felt that it was a relief to grab a well-deserved win.
“What a relief for us, after many weeks without a win in the MSL,” Fandi said.
“I thought we deserved it. We kept pushing; they were tired in the second half but all the players gave their best and I can’t ask for more.”
Fandi also paid tribute to his makeshift defence, with Wahyudi Wahid, Zulfahmi Arifin, Raihan Rahman and Nazrul Nazari all taking their place at the back when needed.
Their performance was complemented by goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud, who made several important stops during the game.
“The makeshift (defenders), they have done so much for us this season. Even Zulfahmi is playing with a very bad toe injury.
“Izwan saving that open shot, that was the save of the day for us.”
Fandi was also glad to see Nizam score his third goal in five games since his return from injury and he stated that he was not surprised by the 23-year-old’s form.
“The combination of (Khairul) Amri and Nizam has been getting better and better, we just need to take care of his condition, because he tends to get injuries,” he added.
“I’m not surprised. He is a good player, but he needs time. The last two and half, three years, he hasn’t even played five matches. So we’re being very patient with him, and we can’t push him too much.
“Nizam’s putting in effort in training, he’s pushing himself, and that’s a good sign for Singapore football.”
However, Fandi believed Nizam still has room for improvement.
“Technically I want him to be more precise with his control and one-two passes. But one advantage is his height, his jump and power in the air, his knock downs. That’s very important,” he said.
“Amri is coming back from injury, and he is getting better and better. He’s trying a lot, and as a striker it is difficult to play against the big boys, the foreigners, it’s not easy for them.
“I am just glad they can combine (well) in the last two games. But we still have Sufian and Sahil, and sooner or later we have to rotate.”