The LIONSXII theme song

Faris relishing roving role under coach Fandi

Faris relishing roving role under coach Fandi

By Kenneth Tan

The 21-year-old enjoys playing in a variety of attacking positions

SINGAPORE, 13 June 2014: This has not been the best of seasons for the LionsXII, but that has not dampened the mood of Faris Ramli.

The effervescent winger has been a virtual ever-present under coach Fandi Ahmad, as well as a standout performer thus far in the 2014 Malaysian Super League (MSL) season.

He fired in his second goal in three games the last time out against Kelantan FA, but was unable to prevent his side from slipping to a loss in Kota Bahru. Despite the obvious disappointment of defeat, he was not too downhearted.

“It’s unfortunate that we could not get a draw,” he told the official LionsXII website before Friday evening’s training session.

“On a whole, we should have done better. But we did very well in the second half, especially in the last 30 minutes. Everyone fought really hard.”

Indeed, the last half-hour of that game belonged to the LionsXII as they piled the pressure on the Kelantan goal. Faris was pushed up to support Sufian Anuar in attack, and that tactical switch by Fandi nearly paid full dividends.

It was a role Faris admitted that he enjoyed playing in.

“Coach Fandi told me to go to the second striker role after he brought on Nazrul (Nazari),” he shared.

“Gabriel (Quak) went to the left but we swopped around at times. That’s when I found some opportunities to score.”

That was his fourth goal of the season, with one coming in the Malaysian FA Cup – an impressive improvement from his tally of one last season. On the whole, it has been a satisfying year for Faris as he looks forward to hitting the eight-goal target which coach Fandi set for him.

“I believe I have played in all the games this year,” he recalled.

“So far I can say it’s really been an eye-opener for me to do so and I’ve been trying to get used to recovering from playing back-to-back games. Fortunately I have not gotten any serious injuries or suspensions.

“Also as compared to last year, I’m moving forward more and taking on the responsibility of scoring goals. Coach Fandi has been teaching me a lot of scoring techniques and I really appreciate that.”

It has been a rather stop-start season for the LionsXII as they find themselves in 8th position with four games to go. Title hopes are long gone and they are now seven points adrift of the top three. Despite the considerable gap, Faris is adamant the aim of finishing inside the top three is still achievable.

“It is still possible,” he insisted.

“Now as a team, we have to take it game-by-game. We have had a few setbacks this year and we’ve always been doing our best to chase the top teams. Now we just have to continue that and hopefully gel as a team before the Malaysia Cup.’

With captain Isa Halim back to full training, the 21-year-old believes that his side can turn things around against Sarawak FA tomorrow.

“It’s really good to have him back,” he commented.

“He’s been recovering well and is now fit to play. We’ve been lacking his aggression in midfield so hopefully he can play a part this time around.

“Sarawak is a better team compared to last year and we cannot afford to be complacent. We have nothing to lose and we’ll do the best for our fans on Saturday night.”

This game against Sarawak FA will kick off at 7.45pm tomorrow at Jalan Besar Stadium. Tickets for the game remain available and fans can get them via TicketBooth. For those who are unable to obtain tickets, you can catch the game ‘LIVE’ via Starhub Channel 201 (SuperSports Arena).

Do support the boys as they aim to recover from Tuesday night’s defeat!