DPMM FC left-back Sairol Hj Sahari posing with the 2012 Singapore League Cup trophy. Picture: BT file
BY YEE CHUN LEONG
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN - DPMM FC have been dealt a heavy blow as left-back Sairol Hj Sahari is set to miss the rest of the Singapore League (S-League) season after rupturing his left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
The 33-year-old picked up the injury during a training session at the Jerudong Mini Stadium on Monday. Sairol started for the defending champions in the first eight matches of the nine played so far this season, and DPMM FC coach Steve Kean said it was unfortunate the club has lost one of its key men in such circumstances.
“This is really bad news. He has ruptured his ACL and we won’t see him back this season,” said Kean told The Brunei Times after yesterday’s training session.
“We will miss him (Sairol) because he is a great player. The next target for him now is to get ready for the start of next season.
“He was really performing well in the session. He missed one game (against Albirex Niigata (S) FC last Friday) because he had a bit of an injury, but he came back and felt great... Then this happened.
“He will have to wait for the swelling to go down which will take about 4-5 weeks and then have surgery.
“I think sometimes you get these types of injuries when it happens when you are alone. He was alone in the corner and tried to turn and twisted his knee quite badly.
“It is a shame and I have seen a lot of injuries like that. It reminded me of Jimmy Bullard (in 2006) when I was in Fulham. He had a similar injury where he collapsed on the inside,” continued the former Blackburn Rovers manager.
Kean has rotated between Sairol and Azwan Salleh in the left-back position over the past two seasons but this season has seen the latter moved to a midfield role while Najib Hj Tarif played backup to Sairol.
DPMM FC will now be looking at signing a local backup player for the position during the transfer window.
“We’re actually going to try to sign a local backup in this window. We are just exploring different possibilities to try and bring in a local backup player at left-back,” revealed Kean.
“The window is closing in a couple of weeks. The coaching staff and management are making a list of players that have the potential to come in and play at our level. Hopefully we can get him in the next 7-10 days,” he added.
Najib, who started the last game, will be given the opportunity to play again and Kean is confident that he can deliver the goods.
“Najib obviously will start the next game (against Geylang International FC on Saturday),” said Kean.
“He has been patient and I had a word with him earlier on in the season about changing his position.
“Instead of thinking as a wide left player, I told him to concentrate on the left-back role.
“He has all the attributes of a good left-back. He is quick, can cross and has a high fitness level.
“Unfortunately for Sairol, that is football… And Najib will have to come in and grab his chance.”
DPMM FC are currently fourth in the nine-team S-League table with 14 points from nine games.
Albirex lead the standings with 20 points and are poised to extend their three-point lead over Tampines Rovers FC when they take on bottom of the table Garena Young Lions (Singapore national Under-21 team) at the Jurong East Stadium in Singapore tonight.
Hougang are third in the table with 16 points.
DPMM FC’s 2-1 loss to Albirex last Friday was their third of the season after also falling to the Japanese outfit in the season opening Community Shield on Feb 13 and Tampines on March 19.
-- Courtesy of The Brunei Times