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Monday, April 16, 2007


KOTA KINABALU: Rahman Zakaria reckons the Rhinos have finally found their true strength.

He also declares that they are now ready to take on their opponents … be it at home or away.

The Rhinos’ team manager said that this was based on their previous results where they have not only been getting the points, but the way the team have been playing has been pretty convincing.

“If this is the way we play or if we can maintain this kind of performance and try to rectify one or two loop holes along the way, I’m pretty sure we will go far in any of the tournaments.

“I’m so delighted and proud to see that the team are getting better and better in each game and the players certainly deserve a pat on the back.

“However, they have to realise that our journey is still a long way to go and that they shouldn’t get carried away with what they have done or achieved thus far.

“As long as they play to the way they have been playing, I’m sure they will be rewarded at the end of the day. But firstly the hard work, unity in the team, team spirit, and determination must be maintained,” Rahman added.

He also believes that Sabah are on the right track in claiming one of the two quarter-final slots in the Malaysia Cup Group C challenge.

“The one point that we earned from the Perak game … I think has helped us gain a slight upper hand over our opponents. When you look at the standings, everything is now in our court. It is up to us to grab our chances because no matter what the other teams (in the group) are doing, we will still be there (quarter-finals) if we maintain our fine momentum,” said Rahman.

On Saturday, Sabah held Perak to a one-all draw at the Perak Stadium that saw Charles Obi netting the equaliser for Sabah in the 68th minute from the spot after Keita Mandjou had put Perak in front by slotting home the opener one minute before the break.

“It was an equally contested match, but at the end, I thought one point could be a fair result for both teams, although both teams had enough chances to take the game.

“We had our chances, so did Perak, but all our players played well … I think our keeper Irwan Jamil was the most outstanding among them all. He made numerous saves, including a sure goal from Khalid Jamil,” said Rahman.

“He is still young and I’m delighted to note that he managed to cope with the game even with the presence of more than 10,000 Perak fans,” said Rahman, referring to the Rhinos’ rookie custodian who turns 20 years old on July 29.

Irwan was named as the Rhinos’ number one custodian following G. Jeevanatham’s suspension for some poor performances.

Sabah’s next Malaysia Cup match is up against Sarawak in an away battle on April 21.

But before that they have a tricky tie against league leaders UPB-MyTEAM in a Premier League challenge on Tuesday.

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