Forkey Doe – that’s the name on everyone’s lips in Terengganu.
Liberian striker Francis Forkey Doe scored a brace to inspire Terengganu to a 2-1 comeback win in the local derby against 10-man T-Team at the Sultan Ismail Stadium on Saturday night.
Doe dazzled the crowd with his dribbling skills and trickery to run the T-Team defence ragged.
While most were surprised, Turtles coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said he always knew the striker would be a hit with the fans.
“He has adapted well and is playing fantastic football,” said Mat Zan.
“His positioning and work rate are outstanding. The scary thing for our opponents is that he can, and will, only get better.”
Mat Zan rested key players Joseph Kalang Tie and Ismail Faruqi on Saturday, while last season’s Golden Boot winner Abdul Hadi Yahya only came on late in the second half.
The coach admitted that his team were lucky to escape with all three points as “T-Team kept pushing forward despite being down to 10 men”.
“My boys showed resilience and determination in the face of the onslaught,” he said.
“We could have won by a bigger margin if not for some wasted chances.
“This is something we have to work on as the league crown might be decided on goal difference.”
Mat Zan also had special praise for winger Shamsul Kamal Mohd for his “fantastic” work down the flank.
“His performance should inspire the other players to improve on their work rate,” said Mat Zan.
“Our strikers, Abdul Manaf Mamat and Abdul Hadi Yahya, have not hit the ground running this season. I hope they find their form soon.
“We have a lot to improve on but I hope we can continue our winning streak when we play Singapore on Saturday.”
While Doe became a crowd favourite, T-Team’s Zachariah Simukonda continued to fluff his lines despite some promising chances in the first half.
T-Team coach Yunus Alif felt the Zambian striker could have made an impact if they had not been handicapped by the early expulsion of Shahril Faisal.
“We had to adjust our formation after Shahril was red-carded in the 19th minute, forcing Simukonda to be the lone striker,” said Yunus.
“Still, he did well as he came close to scoring a few times. Don’t forget we got the penalty because he was fouled in the box.
“Despite losing to a better team, I can take heart from the fact that the players, especially Simukonda, showed true grit and did not give up.
“This is the kind of effort and determination that will carry us through the season.”
T-Team take on Selangor next at the Sultan Ismail Stadium on Saturday.