Friday, 28 October 2011

Terengganu worried over top striker's injury

Terengganu are sweating over the fitness of star striker Manaf Mamat ahead of Saturday's Malaysia Cup final against Negri Sembilan.
The 24-year-old player, currently listed as "doubtful" for Saturday's big game, has not been able to train since Monday after twisting his ankle in a bad fall during training.

Coach Irfan Bakti said it will be a massive loss if Manaf, scorer of 28 goals in all competitions thus far this season, including six in the Malaysia Cup, is ruled out.

"He is such a hard worker who contributes a lot to the team and his services will be sorely missed should he fail to recover in time," said Irfan.

"His ankle is no longer swollen although it is still tender. We are all hoping that he will pass the fitness test on matchday to at least be on the bench."

The coach said Manaf had a big part in Terengganu's win over Kelantan in the quarter-finals and later in the semi-finals, almost single-handedly destroyed Selangor with his three goals in the home and away ties.

"It will be major blow for us to lose Manaf as Ashaari Shamsuddin will be without his strike partner just when he needs him the most," added the coach.

"Of course, we still have our Super League top scorer Abdul Hadi Yahya to do the damage but we are talking about the Malaysia Cup final and we cannot afford to be less than the best especially when we are playing Negri Sembilan."

Irfan said Terengganu have done well this season, winning the FA Cup and finishing second in the Super League.

"But our record against Negri Sembilan is not all that great as we have yet to beat them this year after three draws and one loss.

"They now have a psychological advantage over us and that is why I need to have all my key players available especially Manaf, who has hit a rich vein of form of late."

However, Manaf, whose father died almost two weeks ago, is confident he will be fit for the final.

"I will be devastated if I cannot play as this final is a tribute to my father and I want to win my first ever Malaysia Cup in his honour," he said.

"My ankle does not feel that bad now and chances are I will be fit and ready to help bring the trophy back home on Saturday."

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