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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slim win for Rhinos

KOTA KINABALU: The slim win over Brunei in the Datuk M. Saravanan Challenge Trophy in Labuan on Friday clearly shows that there is still life for the Rhinos after the exodus of players at the end of last season.

It was not really about the victory over the Super League outfit that matters on the night, but the way the new-look Rhinos took the game was pretty much surprising and encouraging.

Not many would have expected them to perform the way they did as they showed a glimpse of their strength and weaknesses, which would impress many.

Despite having only six of the last year’s squad starting the game with former international striker Zainizam Marjan skippering the team, the Rhinos showed they are not pushovers.

In fact they could have scored a couple more goals with a little more luck.

Azrul Ejati Damsah missed twice from close range, while Wong Sai Kong had his spectacular freekick from 25 metres saved by the keeper.

And at the end of the day, a solitary strike from rookie striker Alto Linus was enough for them to settle the score with Brunei.

The Keningau youngster leaped high to head home a Mohd Radzi Hussin corner four minutes before the break.

With this kind of commitment, determination, and team spirit, one would presume that this team can only move forward.

The Rhinos fought their hearts out throughout the game and most importantly their teamwork was so encouraging that given a chance and time this team can be a formidable side.

However, this is only just the beginning for the team, as the season has not even started yet!

It is important for them to realise that there is certainly no place for the comfort zone as hard work, dedication, commitment and willingness to improve individually or as a team are the crucial ingredients for this young squad to achieve success.

“It is good to see them win, but then again this is just our first competitive game and we cannot judge them based on this game alone.

“There is still plenty of room for improvement, and as long as they are willing to sacrifice, keep working hard from now, I’m sure we will be a better team sooner rather than later,” said Rahman Zakaria.

“I hope they will take it from here and continue working hard and fighting for the team,” the Rhinos’ team manager added.

Besides Zainizam, Wong, and Azrul, the other familiar faces in the first team were Mohd Radzi Hussin, Hardy Charles Parsi and goalkeeper Irwan Jamil.

New faces Gasili Pangalot, Mohd Fariss, Billyton Vun Ket Ming, Mafry and Alto Linus completed the Rhinos’ start list.

Leopold Alponsus, Awang Norizam Ensim, and Mohd June Azral Lalah also made second half appearances coming in for Azrul, Radzi and Zainizam respectively.

For the record, the tournament is being organised by My Event Management and Services with Labuan Ferry Corporation Sdn Bhd being the main sponsor. Papar Member of Parliament Datuk Rosnah Shirlin was there to grace the opening match.

THE RHINOS UNUSED SUBS: Harold John, Mohd Salawi Jasad, Zulamri Muhammad, Clarrey Tabad.

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