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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Better to lose now than in the season


KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos lost 1-3 to Brunei’s DPMM in a friendly match played in Labuan on Sunday, but the Rhinos’ head coach Drago Mamic is not too concerned about the outcome of the game.

The Croatian pointed out that the result is not important at this moment of time, as what matters most is their preparations ahead of the new season that kicks off on December 17.

He said it is better for the team to make mistakes now as they would have time to rectify it rather than during the season.

“I cannot be more satisfied than this,” he said, when commenting on the Rhinos’ friendly against the Super League outfit.

“We showed quality, especially in the second half and I thought we dominated about 75 per cent of the game.

“It is better to lose the game now so that we can work on our weaknesses. They (DPMM) are a good team, but we showed more quality,” Drago said.

“This game is only part of our preparations.

“We have quality and have a team who are playing football, but we must pay attention to individuals making mistakes which could cost the team valuable points,” he added.

The only disappointment of the game said Drago is the way the team conceded two early goals.

While not wanting to blame or point figures at anyone, Drago said that they just could not make such mistakes that resulted in their opponents scoring two easy goals.

On Sabah’s No 1 custodian, he said: “He is still very young, and I don’t want to blame him for the two goals, but he could have done better.”

“Nevertheless, it is good this is happening now so we have time to teach him.

“We need him because we have no other options. First he is still Under-21 and secondly he is the best that we have got.

“But we certainly need to work something in improving him and we have ways to improve him.

“He needs to grow as a player and needs to work hard because we have no time to tolerate a player committing the same mistake. “But I’m convinced he will be ready for action.

On the three strikers – a Brazilian, an Englishman and a Nigerian – Drago sees there is still a need to bring more strikers for trials.

While the Englishman – Jamie Phoenix a former Bolton Wanderers and England Under-17 player has caught his eyes, Drago insisted that the team need a more deadly man up front.

“The Englishman is showing something, but then again, a good player only needs one match to show his quality.

But nevertheless, Drago said he will have a good look at the trio in the next one or two weeks before making a recommendation to the team management.

On the Croatian striker he is recommending to the FA, Drago said that the ball is now in the team management’s court before the player in question would come to Sabah.

“Once I get the green light from the team management, then he (the Croatian striker) will come,” added Drago.

Sabah’s next friendly is up against an Indonesian side which will be played in Tawau on November 10.

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