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Sunday, July 06, 2008


KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos have been urged to stay positive and continue fighting for a place in the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals.

While on paper, things look gloomy for the Rhinos, but Rahman Zakaria refuses to throw in the towel just yet. He said they will not give up easily no matter how slim their chances are.

Furthermore, he pointed out there are another five matches to play in the second round, and as long as the team take their chances well, there is always room for them to make it into the last eight.

So now, he added, it is important for the team to be positive and take those chances in front of them.

“I still believe we do have a fighting chance to make it through into the next round,” the Rhinos’ team manager said.

“Even though we are not in a good position in the standings, but when you look (at the standings) we are only four points behind second placed Johor FC. And that is not a big gap,” he added.

“I got to admit that this is going to be a tough, tough task for the boys, but I believe they have what it takes to do it.

“They have been marvelous in the last few matches, and to continue playing the way they did in those matches, I’m very sure, we will get the results.

Sabah take on Penang in the Group B second round opener away at the City Stadium tonight, and Rahman is aware that they need nothing but VICTORY in the game in order to keep their hopes alive.

“We must go into the battlefield with the heart to win. We have to have the belief that nothing is impossible.

Rahman said that a win would surely boost their chances and it could also be the turning point for the team to march into the next round.

“After this clash (against Penang), we will take on Kuala Lumpur at home, and if we win these two matches, I think it will be a positive step for the team.

Tonight, the Rhinos will welcome back the suspended duo of defender Dragic Dalibor and flanker Hishamuddin Othman.

Andre Scotti Ossemer, who is recovering from a groin injury, is also there for options.

But David Njoku, who scored a double in the 4-3 defeat to Police, will certainly start the game.

The hardworking Nigerian will likely start the game with Salvester Sindeh in attack with both Bobby Gonzales and Andre expected to start from the bench.

The Rhinos’ head coach Drago Mamic must be a relieved man to see Dragic back in the team where he will shoulder the responsibility with the reliable Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, while Wong Sai Kong is another defender available for the team.

Hishamuddin is also expected to see first-team action on the left flank, while Chow Chee Wing on the right with Mohd Nafuzi Zain, Zainizam Marjan and Zuraindey Jumai at the heart of the Rhinos’ midfield.

And Drago will have to tinker who to play as the Rhinos’ ball stopper with youngster Mohd Salawi Jasad likely to get the nod ahead of his two seniors Irwan Jamil and Harold John, who had conceded a total of 14 goals between them in the first round.

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