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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Duo staying put

KOTA KINABALU: Midfielders Zuraindey Jumai and Mohd Radzi Hussin have received lucrative offers from other states, but Rahman Zakaria insists they are not going anywhere!

The Rhinos’ team manager said none of the current players from last season’s squad who are currently training with the team will be going anywhere.

“None of them will be leaving the team, including Zuraindey and Mohd Radzi,” said Rahman, when met at the Rhinos’ friendly match against a local side, Beverly FC on Sunday.

“I have spoken to both players, and they admitted receiving offers from another team. But they are not going anywhere. They have expressed their loyalty and will be staying put with the team,” he added.

Both Zuraindey and Mohd Radzi admitted to have been lured by Super League outfit Perlis.

They are the latest players to have been lured away from the Rhinos after flanker Azrul Ejati Damsah and goalkeeper Harold John, who has caught the eyes of Johor.

The foursome played a big part in the friendly game on Sunday – a clear indication that they have no plan to seek greener pastures elsewhere at least for the new season.

“I don’t think they have the heart to desert the team as they realise that this is the time the team needs them the most after what had happened. The current players are those who have shown their loyalty to the team since day one,” said Rahman.

The Rhinos experienced an exodus of players at the end of last season where more than half of the first team squad left.

However, only one Sabah-born player deserted the team – Bobby Gonzalez, who is believed to have signed for DPMM of Brunei.

The other two Sabahans – Eddie Gapil and Salvester Sindeh – who have no intention of leaving – have been forced out.

They are likely to be called by their employer Police for the new season. Unless their services are not needed by their employer, then there is a big possibility of them donning the Rhinos’ colours once again.

Among those players who have left the team are Ahmad Tharmini Saiban (joining Johor), Mohd Nafuzi Zain (Kelantan), Mohd Munir Amran, Chow Chee Wing (both signing for Felda United), Hishamuddin Othman (Kuala Lumpur) and Wong Sai Kong (Sarawak).

And most of the players who have left the team are first team players under former coach Croatian Drago Mamic, whose contract has not been renewed by the Sabah FA.

And the players who have decided to stay with the team are skipper Rosdin Wasli, Zainizam Marjan, Zulamri Muhammad, Hardy Charles Parsi, Irwan Jamil, Mohd Salawi Jasad, Henry Parsi, Azrul, Zuraindey, Harold, Radzi, and Mohd Farid Saibun.

Meanwhile, those who are tipped to make it into the state squad are Gasili Pengalot, Mafry Ballang, Zaykiel Leong as well as several new faces.

The FA is expected to announce its squad by month end.

Meanwhile, the FA’s hope of going for an-all Sabah side may not materialise after all.

They realise they are short of experience at the backline and may look elsewhere to backup their defence.

At the moment a former Kuala Muda Naza defender – Mohd Faris – has been tried out and he looked impressive in his first appearance for the team in the friendly.

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