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Saturday, February 09, 2008


KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos are unlikely to have a Chinese New Year break as they focus on their upcoming away encounter against Shahzan Muda of Pahang next Monday (Feb 11).

At press time there was no indication of the team being given an off day during the festive season as they try to build on their back-to-back victories over Felda United FC (2-1) and Melaka (3-0). “Considering that we have a match on Monday, we’ll see … maybe we are giving the team one or two days’ break,” said team manager Rahman Zakaria when contacted yesterday.

“But at the moment nothing is certain as the head coach (Drago Mamic) wants the team to fully focus on their preparations ahead of the game. “We are back to winning ways and we don’t want to lose the momentum,” Rahman added. The players that will make the most sacrifice are Wong Sai Kong and Chow Chee Wing, who will not be with their families celebrating their CNY. “We have a match against Shahzan Muda coming and we certainly want to go there with the players in top shape,” Rahman pointed out. Sabah are currently fifth in the standings on 17 points (five wins, two draws and three defeats) and are 10 points behind leaders Kuala Muda Naza of Kedah. In second to fourth place are Johor Pasir Gudang (23 points), KL Plus FC (23 points) and Kelantan (19 points) but all three have one game in hand over Sabah and Kuala Muda.

Meanwhile, Sabah are on track to achieve their four-match winning target that chief coach Drago Mamic set last week. Mamic said claiming all 12 points in their remaining first-round fixtures would pave the way for the Rhinos to push for a promotion berth when the second round resumes.

Sabah won two of the matches against Felda United FC 1-2 and Melaka 0-3 and next face Shahzan Muda before rounding up their first round fixtures against Harimau Muda (National Under-19) on Feb 22. Meanwhile, Rahman on behalf of Sabah FA (Safa), the team management, coaches and players wishes the fans a happy Chinese New Year.

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