JOHOR BAHRU, JUNE 16 – It was a day of mixed feelings for Negeri Sembilan head coach, Sazali Saidon at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi when his team got down to training on Tuesday.
For one, he was a happy man because the Premier League outfit became the first team to be given the green light by the Malaysian Football League (MFL) to train after fulfilling the tough criteria set by the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council to check the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).
The training was conducted at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi – Negeri’s home venue.
“It was odd in many ways. As we all know and are used to the normal football training where the contact is a norm. The players do high fives and hugs to celebrate whatever is done on the pitch…let it be in training or a match.
“Here we had to strictly follow the order to stay away from contact and it was ‘kekok’ (odd) to see the players going through their paces without any celebrations,” said Sazali when contacted in Seremban on Tuesday.
Sazali said the 45-minute training session saw players in three groups of 10-each with four coaches. This routine will be repeated on Wednesday.
“We have to get used to this new normal way to get ourselves prepared for the league when it resumes in September. I believe it is a matter of time we get over this odd way to train.”
In the same breath Sazali, a former international, was happy that his team scored a “first” by becoming the first team to resume training since the MFL came to a standstill on March 16 – two days before the government’s nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) came into force.
Sazali also revealed that some “rustiness” was evident in the players’ fitness but he is not too concerned as this was expected after nearly three months of lockdown.
For now, Sazali and the Deer can celebrate the new normal training as they bid for a top-five finish in the Premier League which will be good enough to give the team a place in the Malaysia Cup competition.

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