Sabah Football Fan blog with news, schedule, result, statistic , records and more.

Friday, April 11, 2008

NO ROOM FOR ANY SLIP-UPS


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah take on Kelantan at the Likas Stadium tonight in a Premier League tie that will have a telling factor on their fading promotion hopes. With only six matches to go (for Sabah), there is little room or rather no place for any more slip-ups from the Rhinos. Rahman Zakaria is fully aware that nothing, but only victory will keep their hopes alive.

“We will be going all out and continue our fight no matter how hard or difficult it is going to be. As long as there is a fighting chance, we will go for it because in football you never know what is going to happen,” the Rhinos’ team manager said.

“Furthermore, this is the time for us to rebound back from our two consecutive defeats,” Rahman said, referring to their 3-2 defeat to Kuala Muda Naza in their last Premier League match and the 3-1 defeat to Pahang in the FA Cup quarterfinals first leg encounter on Tuesday. Sabah, who are currently in fifth on 34 points, will go into the match trailing by 13 points off the league leaders KL Plus FC, who have played a game more, and are 11 points behind second-placed Kuala Muda Naza, who occupy the last promotion slot to the Super League.

Kelantan, who currently sit in third spot, are ahead by seven points, but have played a game more, while fourth-placed Johor Pasir Gudang are two points ahead of them.

Rahman hopes the players will not be demoralised by the two defeats, and said that they need to be a little patient. “What is important for us now is to make a quick rebound from these defeats in order to instill confidence and morale in the team. “There are another six matches to go and we must not waste the opportunity,” Rahman said.

For tonight’s game, Sabah will welcome back defender Ahmad Tharmini Saiban from suspension, while Englishman Jamie Phoenix, who missed the Rhinos’ last two matches through injury, is also expected to feature in the first team.

The rest of the players, including Georgian striker Kokhrei Dze Irakli, will be available for options. However, skipper Rosdin Wasli is still recuperating from a long-term injury.

And with both the top two teams facing rather easy opponents, there is little chance for Sabah or Kelantan to close the gap on the top teams. However, a victory for Sabah could see them close the gap on Kelantan and they could also pip Johor Pasir Gudang from the fourth spot if the southern team fail to collect points from their encounter against the young Harimau Muda side.

KL Plus face lowly Melaka in an away battle at the Hang Tuah Stadium, while Kuala Muda Naza will take on Shahzan Muda, also away, at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan.

The other Premier League matches tonight will see Felda United taking on Selangor PKNS at the Kuala Lumpur Football Association Stadium in Cheras, while Armed Forces entertain Kuala Lumpur at the MP Selayang Stadium.

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