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Monday, March 10, 2008


KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos resume their Premier League challenge after about a two-week break due to the just concluded 12th general election, hoping to humble Melaka at the Hang Tuah Stadium tonight.

Team manager Rahman Zakaria is confident his charges will maintain their winning feat over their unpredictable opponents. In the first round, the Rhinos trounced Melaka 3-0 at the Tawau Sports Complex early last month. However, Rahman reminded his charges not to take the game lightly as this will be a different ball game altogether. Furthermore, he said Melaka seem to be a different team now as compared to the last one month or so. “They won 2-0 at the same venue in their last game against the Armed Forces. The victory will surely boost their morale or confidence,” said Rahman.

“On our part, we just need to play our best game,” he added. At the same time, Rahman also wants the players to give their fullest concentration throughout the game. He said he found out that they have been the victims of their own doing by conceding late goals in the past with the latest being in their last game two weeks ago against the Harimau Muda (National Under-19).

The match eventually ended in a one-all draw after the Rhinos conceded a late goal. “The equaliser came deep into injury time and we cannot afford to make such a mistake … we lost two precious points because of that. “It was not only during that game as in the past we tended to lost concentration towards the last 10 to 15 minutes before the final whistle. We must be able to defend during that period of time because one mistake could be costly,” he added. Rahman also advised the players to play according to the plan from chief coach Drago Mamic effectively, without bothering too much about the referee’s decision even when it goes against them because this will only disrupt their concentration. “The players must play to the game plan and if we are able to achieve this, then the team should be able to win and go far in the league,” added Rahman.

Rahman said with the exception of captain Rosdin Wasli (injury) as well as Radzi Hussin and Azrul Ejati Damsah (both down with fever), the rest of the players are available for the clash. Sabah are fifth in the league after playing 13 games, collecting 24 points from seven victories and three draws.

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