KUALA LUMPUR, 10 Aug – Premier League outfit Negri Sembilan – the first team to get down to training after the green light was given following the lockdown due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, is eyeing a winning start to their campaign when the league resumes on Aug 26.
The Jangs play Terengganu FC at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi in a match which head coach, Sazali Saidun says will very much plot the team’s hopes of a top-two finish in the 12-team Premier League.
Negri Sembilan registered only one victory – a 2-0 win over UKM in Paroi in four matches before the M-League was to take a break for the international break.
However, it was brought to a standstill on March 18 when for federal government announced a Movement Control Order for the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sazali, a former international from Johor has lined-up three friendlies to gauge his team’s strength and weakness before picking his team for the tough match against the Terengganu outfit.
The friendlies – all to be played in Paroi – are against Selangor on Wednesday (Aug 12), Felda United (Aug 15), and Police (Aug 19).
“Three tough matches (friendlies) in a week will be a test of character for the players. They will have to be at their best to prove their worth. I will pick the team on merit as we want a winning start to our campaign.
“So far so good…the players have adapted well in training. There are some minor injuries but this is normal in football,” said Sazali.
After the home match against Terengganu FC, the Jangs will take on Penang on Sept 1st  – another tough match for Sazali and his team.
“We need to win five or six of our remaining matches in the league. It is a tough call but I have faith in the team. The challenge is there and it is now up to us to prove our worth.”
There is also a consolation for Sazali that all his four foreigner players in the squad strayed back in the country and did not travel overseas which could have landed them in trouble.
Negri Sembilan’s foreign legion is made up of Japanse midfielder Shunsuke Nakatake and Brazilians Almit Neto (forward), Matheus Vila (defender), and, Igor Luiz (forward).
The Jangs finished sixth in the league last year.
Coming back to the match against Terengganu FC, Sazali added: “We are playing at home and should grab full points. It will put us in good stead for the away match against Penang.”

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