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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Rhinos may hire Nigerian


Kota Kinabalu: Sabah are likely to hire another Nigerian footballer to beef-up their campaign in the Premier League.

The Rhinos who are currently placed eighth in the league with only four points from as many matches, are banking on a strong defender to help them get back on track.

Nigerian Prince Eboagwa Etuwe, who has caught the eye of Sabah FA head coach, Drago Mamic, is among the top foreign hopefuls presently undergoing trials with the team.

On Monday night, Prince together with other foreign players from Nigeria, Chile, Poland and Morocco played a friendly match against the Korean Police Academy.

Sabah fielded mostly Reserve League, Under-19 and senior players but lost 0-2 in the match played at the Likas Stadium.

Team Manager, Rahman Zakaria said the search for another foreign player is on-going. "We actually have a few candidates who are good but it is all up to the coach (Mamic) to decided who to take."

But as you can see the Nigerian (Prince) has impressed us but we will continue to access all including Chilean midfielder Alain Antonio AS Tudillo Pauez, he pointed out.

"We will make sure that we only sign up the right foreign player for the squad," said Rahman, adding that the FA was hoping to shore up Sabah's defence which has been found wanting.

"Although we played convincingly in all four matches due to our poor defence we let everyone down."

He said this was the reason why Mamic brought striker Salvester Sindeh into the game as a defender as he needed an influential player with the ideal height for the position.

Mamic's cause was not helped by the continued absence of captain Ronny Harun due to international assignments, that left the squad with only local import Ahmad Tharmini Saiban and veteran Burhan Ajui playing in defence.

"What we need now is a commanding central defender who can play well like Ronny," he said, adding, "Prince has the quality that we need in the position but we'll see how things progress."

Should Prince sign up for Sabah, he will be the second Nigerian in the squad after Charles Obi, the current top scorer for Sabah with four goals to his name.

The other foreign import with Sabah is Namibian striker Paulus Shipanga Shitaleni who is however yet to shine.

"Paulus is still in doubt É his performance is below expectation. During friendly matches he plays well but in actual matches he seems to lose his concentration," said Rahman.

Meanwhile, he hoped the fans would turn up in numbers when Sabah play at the Likas Stadium.

"We are not asking for a packed stadium, even half-filled will be good ...

I'm sure the outcome of the game will be different with them cheering the team," he said.

Sabah will next face Kelantan at the Likas Stadium on Friday (Jan 19).

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