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Sunday, October 12, 2008

No dilly-dally

KOTA KINABALU: After an unsuccessful bid to gain promotion into the Super League for a record fourth consecutive time last season, the Sabah FA will not leave any stone unturned in their preparations for the upcoming new season that is scheduled to kick off early next year.

Its Executive Secretary Harry Baking said this time they will try their level best to form a squad that is capable of realising their targets, with promotion their top priority.

He said that this time around there will be no time wasting as far as their preparations are concerned as they will get the ball rolling starting from next week.

Harry said for a start they would call all players from the 2007/08 squad who are living in and around the State Capital to report for training on Monday. (For more information, the players are requested to check with the Sabah FA office.)

“Training will start on Monday, but this will be for those players who are residing in or around the State Capital. For the rest of the players, we will soon inform them when to report.

“We want them to report to our coaches (Burhan Ajui and Khairul Azman Mohd). They (Burhan and Khairul) will take charge of the training for the time being until we announce our head coach, which is likely to be done anytime from now.

Harry also said that they are opening their doors to ex-Rhinos who plied their trade with other teams last season.

“We welcome them with open arms, but then again, like the rest of the players in the team, they would have to impress our selection panel before they can dream of making a comeback.

“Such criteria will not only apply to them, but also the rest of the current players.

More than five ex-Rhinos played for other States or club sides last season.

Among them are lanky defender Md Reithiddin Emran (Perlis), Madzalan Emoi, Sumardi Hajalan (both Johor FC), Gasili Pengalot, Sanjos Sundawat (Police) and Razalan Oto (UPB-MyTeam).

“I have been receiving calls from some of these players, and I told them that they are more than welcome, but then again, there will be no direct entry into the team as everyone and each of the players will first have to impress our selection panel before they can sign for the team,” said Harry.

For the record, last season, Sabah finished a disappointing fourth placing behind eventual champions Kuala Muda Naza, KL Plus and Kelantan.

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