All things considered, it was a fairly successful first season that Terengganu FC had in 2018. Rebranded into a football club and under the guidance of Irfan Bakti, they managed to finish fifth in the Super League, reached the third round of the FA Cup and unluckily ended up as runners-up of the Malaysia Cup.
For a team that only returned to the top flight of Malaysian football last year after emerging in second place behind Kuala Lumpur in the 2017 Premier League season. The fact that they fared much better than Kuala Lumpur showed the tremendous amount of work put in.
Moving forward into the 2019 season, Terengganu is expected to put in a strong challenge for a much higher place in the league as well as the chance of going deep into the cup competitions too. And to do that, being able to retain their best two players from last season was vital.
With 24 goals in all competitions, the skipper Tchetche Kipre lead from the front in more ways than one. Influential midfielder Lee Tuck was the driving force in the centre and he also chipped in with 14 goals of his own.
Irfan has added to the team for the upcoming season by adding the likes of Ilham Amirullah from Negeri Sembilan, Khairu Azrin from Felda United, Syamim Yahya from Felda United and Sanjar Shaakhmedov from Lokomotiv Taskent in Uzbekistan.
The 29 year old Shaakmedov is undoubtedly the pick of the bunch having played a sterling role for his previous club in helping them to three consecutive domestic league titles since 2016. The left footer operates in midfield and will be expected to share the creative burden alongside Lee Tuck.
Yet their relative success in 2018 also led to their players being eyed by other teams and the departures of J. Parthiban to Perak, Faiz Nasir to Selangor and Latiff Suhaimi to Selangor will be holes that Irfan will have to plug in his squad.
Terengganu have chosen Vietnam as their base for pre-season training with matches against Ho Chi Minh City FC, Becamex Binh Duong FC and Troung Giang FC planned for the month of January.
The full Terengganu FC squad for the 2019 season in graphic below.
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