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Thursday, May 22, 2008

A PREMIER LEAGUE BOOST FOR JUNIORS


KOTA KINABALU: The inclusion of nine Premier League players is surely a welcome boost for Abdullah Awang Adi.

The junior Rhinos coach believes that with the presence of these nine players, the squad which has been struggling in the President’s Cup challenge, will now surely be formidable.

Eight players from the current senior side have been roped in to beef up the junior Rhinos for the 12th edition of the Malaysia Games in Terengganu.

They are siblings Henry and Hardy Charles Parsi, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Mohd Farid Saibun, Zulamri Muhammad and two goalkeepers Harold John and Mohd Salawi Jasad.

And Abdullah believes that making it into the semi-finals now is a realistic dream.

A Selangor-based player Mohd Ibnu Kassim, who played for Selangor PKNS in the Premier League, has also been named in the 18-member squad. And another new player in the squad is UMS student Rainol Masaat.

The rest of the players are from the current junior Rhinos squad; Azizan Abdul Said, Ibrahim Abu Nawas, Nazli Puasa, Rydwan Soeharto, Andrew Adan Markus, Azizul Madrin, Muslyadi Amdass and Mohd Azaraaja.

Despite the presence of Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan in the group (B), the former state midfielder is convinced they will be able to reach their pre-tournament target.

“This is going to be a very tough competition, but I think a semi-final spot is a modest target for the team,” said Abdullah.

“Like us, I believe that Kedah will also be using some of their Premier League players. That goes for Selangor and Kelantan too!” said Abdullah, who will be assisted by Yahya Datuk Kassim while Alijus Sipil will be the team manager for the state squad.

Abdullah said he would be banking on the Azrul-Rainol partnership to spearhead the attack and that the rest of the Premier League players will likely taste first team action.

They will leave for Terengganu on May 25 and will take on Kedah in the opener on May 28 followed by a date with Selangor on May 30 before concluding their preliminary round campaign against Kelantan on June 1.

They need to finish among the top two to progress into the second round.


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