BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
On top of preparing his Selangor team tactically ahead of the 2018 season, head coach Maniam Pachaiappan now has to also keep his men's morale up.
The Red Giants' plan of using the Bukit Jalil National Stadium as their homeground this season has been shot down by the Malaysian FA and league organiser Football Malaysia LLP, and they now need to find another venue with three weeks remaining before they are scheduled to play their first home game.
While declining to comment on the matter and simply responding to the press' enquieries by telling them to speak to the club board, Maniam said that he now has to make sure that his men are not affected by the team's off-the-pitch issues.
"I need to talk positive things to them everytime, to inspire them, so that they don't switch off. They only need to think about the first game because that is what's important.
"We don't want to talk about negative matters such as our lack of a home venue. I told them just now, 'Don't think about it. Just forget about it. Just concentrate on training.'
"That's a matter for the board. We (the team) need to concentrate on training, friendly matches, and improving. We don't need to think about the stadium or any other matters. The management knows what to do, so we just wait for it," said Maniam when met after conducting training on Tuesday.
Fortunately for Maniam and his team, they have one thing to look forward to this week. New foreign signings Evan Dimas Darmono and Ilham Udin Armaiyn will be rejoining them on Wednesday, after playing for Indonesia in a 4-1 friendly match defeat to Iceland last Sunday, and attending the Garudas' centralised training for a few days.
Goal on Monday had reported that the duo may join the camp until the end; on January 21.
"They will come back on Wednesday (January 17). The initial plan was that they were supposed to join Indonesia's training camp again on the 21st.
"So we decided to let them stay and continue training with Indonesia for a few more days until Wednesday, and when they rejoin us we will have them for good (the remainder of the pre-season)," explained Maniam.