STUN­NING AL­LE­GA­TIONS

Joseph be­lieves other rea­sons be­hind MISC-Mifa’s poor run

New Straits Times - - Sport - AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.my

MISC-MIFA’s mis­er­able run on their Premier League de­but has raised sus­pi­cion of match-fix­ing within the team.

Coach Ja­cob Joseph la­belled some of his play­ers as dis­hon­est af­ter the 7-2 thrash­ing by Univer­siti Te­knologi Mara (UiTM) in a Premier League at MBPJ Sta­dium on Fri­day.

It was not the first time they had lost badly in the M-League. In the FA Cup last month, they were ham­mered 6-3 by Sarawak.

The newly pro­moted side are cur­rently 11th in the stand­ings with one win and six de­feats, scor­ing 14 goals and con­ced­ing 23.

Joseph is feel­ing the heat as the club’s tar­get is to make the top five in the first half of the sea­son for qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the Malaysia Cup.

The coach has in­formed the man­age­ment that some play­ers could be in­volved in match-fix­ing but they have told him to pro­vide solid ev­i­dence.

“Af­ter the open­ing two de­feats in Jan­uary, I de­cided to only re­veal my start­ing line-up to the play­ers on match­days,” Joseph told Time­s­port yes­ter­day.

“It was a move to keep the play­ers guess­ing as I al­ready felt then that some were dis­hon­est.

“As an experienced coach, I know what my play­ers are ca­pa­ble of and right now, some are not per­form­ing.

“They do very well in train­ing but make silly mis­takes in matches. My de­fend­ers and goal­keep­ers have been let­ting in early and soft goals.

“In the thrash­ing by Sarawak in last month’s FA Cup match, I sus­pected some­thing was not right and had to make a sub­sti­tu­tion af­ter we let in four silly goals.”

In the de­feat to UiTM on Fri­day, Joseph said his de­fend­ers were not play­ing to in­struc­tions.

“I had fielded the same line up that lost 2-1 to Ne­gri on Feb 28 for yes­ter­day’s (Fri­day) match,” he said. “My Ar­gen­tine cen­tre-back Alan Aciar left holes at the back as he of­ten moved for­ward. I had to sub­sti­tute him in the 42nd minute. My keeper Zul­fadhli (Mo­hamed) was also clumsy.

“I am be­mused with the team’s per­for­mances this sea­son. My team have lim­i­ta­tions but I never ex­pected things to be so bad.”

Joseph said he is also un­happy with the form of for­eign sign­ings Steven Im­biri of In­done­sia and Michael Ijezie of Nige­ria.

“I signed Im­biri be­cause the agent said he was a mid­fielder. But to­day, Im­biri is say­ing that he is a winger and that he has never played in cen­tral mid­field.

“Ijezie does not have proper tech­nique and is very poor. Im­biri has no match fit­ness while Aciar is still strug­gling to adapt to our game.

“I will make changes when the mid-sea­son trans­fer win­dow opens in May. I plan to re­place two for­eign­ers and also some lo­cals,” Joseph added.

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