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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

RAHMAN: MAINTAIN FIGHTING SPIRIT


KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos have been urged to keep up the fighting spirit they showed in the 2-1 victory over Felda United FC in a Premier League match on Monday.

They have also been reminded to be united in reviving their fortunes for the better in the competition.

Rahman Zakaria also said that it is time for the Rhinos to show some kind of consistency in order to maintain the pace with the top teams.

“I want to look forward and focus on our remaining games. I firmly believe we have a good set of players in the team … be it local or foreign players. And if we can focus and start to show some consistency, I’m convinced we will be there challenging for the top spots in the competition at the end of the day,” said Rahman.

While delighted with the victory, Rahman was quick to remind the players not to be too satisfied with the win.

“There is no reason for them to celebrate because this is just one game. There are so many games ahead of us, and they must show us that they are capable of winning more games.

“They have to have the right attitude and to play their hearts out in every game. At this stage of the competition and the predicament we are in, there is no place for them to take teams lightly.

“From now on, I want the players to treat all games the same and give 110 per cent.

“We have had enough of the yo-yo syndrome … winning this game and losing the next one. We have to be consistent and be able to win matches week in and week out,” said Rahman.

Commenting on the game, Rahman said it was a well-deserved victory for the team.

“It was a hard fought victory considering that we had to make a comeback after trailing 1-0 after just 22 minutes.

“But the players never showed any signs of giving up and this is the kind of attitude we want from them,” he added.

Khairul Izuan Khalid nodded home the opener for Felda United in the 22nd minute.

Despite creating more than half a dozen chances, Sabah ended the first half trailing 1-0.

“We had three genuine penalty claims in the first half. The first one was when Rosdin Wasli was pushed. He fell awkwardly and injured his legs. We had no choice but to replace him as early as the eighth minute,” said Rahman.

However, the incident was some kind of a blessing in disguise for the Rhinos as it was new signing Andre Scotti Ossemer, who came in for the injured Rosdin, who saved the night for the Rhinos with his heroic two-goal effort.

The second and third incidents saw Jamie Phoenix pulled down inside the box, but on both occasions, the referee refused to bother much about the Rhinos’ claims.

However, Sabah were presented with a chance to score the equaliser when they were awarded a penalty kick after Jamie was fouled inside the box. But unfortunately, Jamie missed the spot kick.

However, in the 70th minute, Sabah were presented with the second spot kick of the night, but this time it was Andre who was brought down inside the penalty box.

He (Andre) stepped up to take the spot kick which he converted with ease.

And as the match headed for a one-all draw, Andre made his debut a memorable one as he slotted home the winner during a goalmouth melee in injury time.

Sabah’s next game is at home to Melaka on Feb 1.

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