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Wednesday, July 09, 2008


KOTA KINABALU: Is the ongoing Malaysia Cup being played fairly?

The answer (is) as far as Sabah Chief Coach Drago Mamic is concerned a definite NO!

“How can it be fair when certain teams are allowed to postpone their matches and some not,” Drago questioned.

The Croatian was fuming when he heard of the postponement of two matches involving the Group B teams – Kedah vs Penang and Johor FC vs Police.

He sees the postponement as something irregular in the football world, especially in a competition like the Malaysia Cup.

“This (postponement) is ridiculous! I have never seen this, because if you are talking about fairness to all the teams, all matches must be played on schedule without any postponement.

“If in any case the organiser decides to make any changes on the request of any particular team, the decision must reflect on fair play.

“The way the competition is being handled, I don’t see any fair play or fairness at all.

“For instance, in our case, they could have postponed all matches involving the group.

“Now our opponents are having more time to recover, while we have to go down to the battlefield with less time to recover from the hectic schedule.

“Furthermore, if we look at the standings, it is only fair for each and every of the teams in our group to be given equal treatment because I think the fight for a place in the quarter-finals is still very much open to all the teams.

“And if there is any team that wishes to ask for any postponement, Sabah should be the one as we have more reasons to ask for it because we spend more time on traveling than any of the other teams in the group,” Drago said.

Sabah take on Kuala Lumpur at the Likas Stadium tonight, while Kedah, Penang, Johor FC and Police are having a day off until the next scheduled matches, slated for July 12.

The postponed matches are expected to be played later this month.

On a positive note, Drago was delighted to see that the team have progressed tremendously of late.

He said that the team have shown superb performances in their last few games.

“The team have started to show their true colours. Against Penang, we were playing like a European outfit. We created chance after chance but we were just unfortunate to score only once.

“The team’s movement on the field was superb and I’m not surprised that even the home (Penang) fans applauded them (Sabah),” he said.

“So now I’m very much looking forward to the Kuala Lumpur clash.

“But as much as I want to win the game and wanting the team to maintain their superb form, but we have to see how the team react to the fatigue of having to play six games in 16 days.

“Playing six matches in 16 days is a terrible experience for any club. Even a car cannot move without gas … what more to say a human being, who certainly needs time to recover from all this fatigue.

“Nevertheless, I’m so proud to see the team being able to play at the highest level.

Drago hopes the team will continue to play superb football with the greatest fighting spirit, commitment and dedication.

“It is important for the team to maintain the way they have been playing. We must keep up the quality of our game.

Tonight, Drago hinted that he is likely to stick to his winning side that notched a 1-0 victory over Penang.

With the exception of defender Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, the rest of the players are likely to be retained.

Tharmini will miss the Kuala Lumpur clash after receiving his third yellow card and would serve an automatic one-match suspension.

Drago said he will stick to rookie custodian – the young Mohd Salawi Jasad as his ball stopper – with Dragic Dalibor, Mohd Munir Amran, Wong Sai Kong and Hishamuddin Othman at the Rhinos’ backline.

In midfield, Eddy Gapil, Zuraindey Jumai and either Chow Chee Wing or Zainizam Marjan will get the nod, while David Njoku, Salvester Sindeh and Bobby Gonzales will all see action as Drago plots an all-out attacking game.

“I’m still unsure whether Zainizam or Chow will be fit for the clash. I have to wait and see. I rested both of them in our last game. They have been playing superb, but the hectic fixture schedule is taking its toll on them because they do a lot of sprints during matches.

“I’m also without Mohd Nafuzi because he is having inflammation on his tendon (ankle), but I think I will still put him in the squad for the clash,” added Drago.

The rest of the players still in the crocked list are Rosdin Wasli, Andre Scotti Ossemer, Henry Parsi, and Hardy Charles Parsi.

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