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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Our boys played their hearts out, says proud Rahman

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah fought tooth and nail in the second leg of the Malaysia Cup semi-final match against Perak on Tuesday but sadly they succumbed to a better team.

Team manager Rahman Zakaria said despite the loss he was proud of his team who he described as winners for their display of steely determination throughout the 90-minute match.

"The players fought their way to the last four in the tournament before bowing out to Perak on 2-3 aggregate," he said.

Sabah went down 2-1 to Perak in the second-leg tie in Ipoh after a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Tawau last weekend.

"I'm proud of the players. They really played their hearts out. They showed high commitment and fighting spirit and they certainly walked out of the country's oldest competition with their heads held high," said Rahman. "We are sad about not being able to play in the final. I think it is just not our luck but that's football.

"When we looked at the game, it was a 50-50 affair. The players did not give in easily to Perak who were supported by around 30,000 fans.

"I'm proud of the players as they showed that we can fight against an elite team of Malaysian football .. at least we lost with our pride still intact," Rahman said.

The defeat saw the Rhinos marking another season without trophies but Rahman was quick to point out this was not the end of the world.

He said the rapid improvement of the team, especially among the youngsters, under head coach Drago Mamic will make Sabah a better team next time around. "For a team that was written off by many prior to the start of the current season, I don't think we did too badly judging from our performance in the three competitions.

"All these showed that the squad is maturing and with Mamic's vast experience, I'm sure good things will happen in the very near future," said Rahman.

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