Balestier coach Kraljevic rues Raihan Rahman’s season-ending injury

Kelvin Leong Kelvin Leong

Balestier Khalsa coach Marko Kraljevic reckons Raihan Rahman’s season-ending injury will be a huge loss for the Tigers from Toa Payoh.

When Raihan Rahman went down in the first half of their 1-1 draw against Hougang United on Sunday, the entire Balestier Khalsa bench turned away from the action.

The former Hougang midfielder immediately stayed on the ground after an innocuous challenge by Iqbal Hussain, as the medical staff quickly arrived on the scene.

With both sets of players crowding Raihan, it was obvious that the injury was a bad one and it turned out to be an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

The Tigers then went on to lose the lead when Iqbal equalised in the second half as both teams had a share of the spoils.

“Raihan’s absence is definitely a big loss for us,” said Balestier Head Coach Marko Kraljevic. “He’s the guy who keeps the shape for the team.

“Vedran (Mesec) and Huzaifah (Aziz) are attacking players. He’s been playing very well this year. Compared to last year where he could play more attacking, we gave him a lot more jobs in defensive midfield, to win the ball and to move it to the strikers.

“Without him, we’re going to find it more difficult. But life goes on and now we must find players to replace him.”

Raihan’s injury not only impacted Balestier but also their opponents’ renowned supporters group, the Hougang Hools, were also quick to reach out to the 27-year-old midfielder who turned out for Hougang in the 2016 season.

HOOLs would like to wish our former Hougang United player, Raihan Rahman a speedy recovery. Get well soon bro. #1H1H

Posted by Hougang United FC Supporters' Club on Sunday, 22 April 2018


Balestier will likely turn to Huzaifah in Raihan’s absence while Noor Akid Nordin covers the space down the left wing.