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Friday, December 14, 2007


KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said gaining promotion to the Super League will be their TOP PRIORITY when Sabah make their appearance for the fourth consecutive season in the Premier League that kicks off next week.

The Sabah FA Deputy President insists they have had enough of Premier League action, and that it is time for the Rhinos to move on and play in the Super League.

“We don’t want to stay in the Premier League forever,” said Gimbang at the signing ceremony of contracts between the FA and the players held at the FA’s office in Likas on Wednesday night.

“For this reason, I really hope the players would do their level best to achieve our goal,” he added.

“I also hope they share our dreams and hopes. This time around I firmly believe that we can do it after three failed attempts.

“I can see that this time around we have a well-balanced squad. We have experienced and young blood in the team. At the same time we also have good foreign players as well as a head coach (Drago Mamic), who I believe has all the experience to guide the team to success,” said Gimbang.

“From the feedback that I received, the team have done solid preparations. With this I see no reason why we cannot do well in the competition.

“I would also like to remind the players that once they don Sabah colours, they must feel proud and must show great discipline on and off the pitch. All the people are depending on you all to do the State proud and you will not disappoint them, especially our die-hard fans,” Gimbang added.

He pointed out that in football there is no substitution to victory. “No matter what is going to happen in the new season, at the end of the season it is victory that we need.

“I believe if the players can show high fighting spirit and do it as a big team, I’m sure we will have something to cheer about at the end of the season.

Sabah will kick off their campaign by taking on Armed Forces in an away battle on December 17 before playing their first home match of the season against Premier League debutantes Proton FC on December 28 at the Tawau Sports Complex field.

Meanwhile, team manager Rahman Zakaria said that with the signing of contracts a done deal, now their focus will be on the first game against Armed Forces.

“Now, the only missing piece in the team is another foreign player. But we are in no rush as we firmly believe we are ready for the battle.”

For the new season, Sabah have unveiled eight new faces, including Englishman Jamie Anthony Lawrence Phoenix.

The rest are three local imports namely Nafuzi Zain, Wong Sai Kong and Hishamuddin Othman.

Eddie Gapil and Zuraindey, who once donned the State’s colours a few seasons back, have also been roped into the squad.

Young goalkeeper Mohd Salawi Mohd Jasad, 18, is the youngest in the squad. Mohd Farid is another young blood being roped into the team. The rest of the players are from last year’s squad.

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