Thursday, May 21, 2009

Irfan: Players showed true character despite financial woes

The Star ; Thursday May 21, 2009

PETALING JAYA: Perlis coach Irfan Bakti praised his men for their show of professionalism even though they had taken a pay cut and received only half-month salary last month.

The Northern Lions continued with their gnashing form in the Super League to remain on top the 14-team standings on 38 points, one point in front of Selangor.

“We are down with financial problems and our president is paying from his own pocket. We received only half pay last month but the good thing is that the players have maintained their character. We will continue to push ahead and we are not worried about Selangor breathing down our necks,” said a proud Irfan.

Although Perlis have woes of their own, Irfan has sympathy for their counterparts from Kelantan, who are suffering badly from not getting to play their home matches in Kota Baru.

“It is a pity the moral of the Kelantan team is down ... everything is down for them,” said Irfan after his side edged Kelantan 2-1 in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.

“Kelantan are a good side but their players are exhausted, having to travel twice compared to other teams. I think they have been punished enough.”

There was cheer for the Perlis side as their FA president, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, has said that the team would be reward with a bonus for their victory over Kelantan.

Kelantan coach Peter Butler was disappointed that his team conceded two soft goals to hand Perlis victory.

“They were the bad team of the night. Yes, we are having a bad run and are in a bad situation. The confidence of the team is down. We gave conceded two silly goals and they cost us dearly,” he said.

The Englishman, however, said that he offered no excuse even though they were put in a situation of having to travel for both home and away matches.

“I am a realist. Kelantan have a mountain to climb. I have been in this situation of going on a losing streak. But there is always the chance to come back. I am not going to panic,” said the former West Ham star.

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