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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

SABAH READY TO FACE KEDAH


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah are ready to face hot favourites Kedah in a Group B opener of the football event at the 12th edition of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Terengganu today.

Team manager Alijus Sipil declares the team are in tip top condition and that they fear no one, including Kedah.

“It cannot be denied that Kedah are the favourites because like us, they will also have the services of senior players. We were also made to understand that two of the players have been training with Chelsea.

“But we are not too worried about their strengths because I firmly believe that we are a formidable side. With the inclusion of several senior players I believe the team are able to spring some surprises in the Games.

The Sabah-Kedah match has been slated for 4.45pm at the Gong Badak State Sports Complex Field A, while at the adjacent Field B, Selangor will be pitted against Kelantan, which is also a Group B battle.

Sabah will be strengthened by nine Premier League players from the Rhinos’ squad.

Among them are Mohd Radzi Hussin, Zulamri Muhammad, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Harold John, Mohd Farid Saibun, Henry Parsi, Hardy Charles Parsi and Mohd Salawi Jasad.

Kuala Lumpur-based Sabahan, Mohd Ibnu Kassim, who donned Selangor PKNS colours, is also part of the team.

“Even though these players are still young, they have gained the much needed exposure or experience playing in the Premier League.

“I believe that their presence in the team will surely give us a big boost. I believe we will be able to give Kedah a good fight. In other words, I’ll say that this is a 50-50 game.

The players picked from this year’s President’s Cup squad are Azizan Abdul Said, Ibrahim Abu Nawas, Nazli Puasa, Rydwan Soeharto, Andrew Adan Markus, Azizul Madrin, Muslyadi Amdass and Mohd Azaraaja.

Meanwhile, chief coach Abdullah Awang Adi, who is assisted by Yahya Datuk Kassim, hints that most of the players from the senior side are likely to start the game.

He said that Azrul Ejati Damsah will spearhead the attack together with UMS striker Rainol Masaat.

Radzi Hussin and Zulamri Muhammad will be the main men in midfield, while siblings Henry and Hardy are likely to be utilised at the backline with the Rhinos’ second choice custodian given the nod to be the last man of the team.

After the Kedah date, Sabah will take on Selangor on May 30 before concluding their group tie up against Kelantan on June 1.

Besides the Sabah-Kedah, Selangor-Kelantan matches, five other matches will be played on the opening day of the football event.

Four matches will be held in the morning involving two Group C matches between N. Sembilan and Melaka, and Perlis against Kuala Lumpur. The other two matches are the Group D ties between Brunei and Johor and Sarawak and Penang.

The other match to be played in the afternoon is a Group A tie between Terengganu and Perak.

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