When Joseph Kalang Tie opened the scoring for Terengganu against Perak, the script was already in the Turtles’ favour. The whole nation is aware of what Terengganu is capable of when on-song thus the outcome of the match was a foregone conclusion. But Rafiuddin Roddin had other plans. He netted the equaliser before Albert Bodjongo scored to give Perak what seemed like an unassailable lead.
However, the sting came minutes before full time when Terengganu drew level through Hasmizan Kamaroddin’s goal dealing a blow to Perak’s bid for victory. A distraught Norizan Bakar was left speechless on the sidelines while manager Khairul Azwan Harun looked dejected.
“I’ve been seeing signs of it in our players, even from last year,” said Khairul when quizzed about complacency within the Seladangs’ ranks. “We played extremely well today but the players did not show enough desire to win the game comfortably.”
Complacency has beset the Seladangs on numerous occasions recently. Since the departure of Steve Darby, Perak tends to show signs of inconsistency, often failing to negotiate their opponents diligently. Perhaps the same issue is plaguing the team this season, if Khairul Azwan’s words are to be digested truthfully.
Comparing Perak to more accomplished teams like Kelantan and Terengganu isn’t logical because of the vast quality difference. But those two have set the benchmark for what Malaysian clubs can achieve and should, therefore, be an inspiration for the Seladangs.
Kelantan in particular, have been impressive with their grit on the pitch despite having to juggle between local and AFC Cup commitments. Nevertheless, their performance has been equally brilliant in all matches, something that is lacking in Norizan Bakar’s men. Seven wins in 16 league matches is nothing to shout about. The pace of the game is definitely picking up. It’s about time the Seladangs up their tempo and match their rivals, man for man.
Football has always been labelled as the beautiful game. But behind that term is pure hard work, diligence, determination and the craving for goals. Norizan Bakar’s men have to show better maneuvering skills on the pitch. They ought to remember that complacency does not ensure success. It only brings misery.