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Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rahman: Don’t get carried away!

KOTA KINABALU: Rahman Zakaria reminded the Rhinos not to get carried away too easily with their achievement.

The Rhinos’ team manager said they have learnt from the past that the negative attitude cost them dearly if they start to take things for granted after achieving a bit of success.

“We must learn how to be consistent no matter how difficult it could be,” said Rahman, after witnessing his side defeat Premier League newcomers SDM Kepala Batas of Penang in the opener at the Likas Stadium on Friday.

Sabah defeated the amateur SDM Kepala Batas – comprising mostly navy personnel – 2-0.

“This is just the beginning of our battle and we must not sit back and start to relax. Instead we should strive harder to improve ourselves. Things will only get tougher and not the other way round. So we must prepare for whatever circumstances we are facing,” he added.

Rahman was happy for the team after winning the battle despite not playing their best game.

“It was not our best game but I’m happy to start the season with a win because it is always important to win the first game as it could help lift the spirit and confidence in the team.

“There is certainly room for improvement such as the players’ combination which was lacking especially in the first half but they played better for the following half.

“Nevertheless, I’m still happy with what I’ve seen because I believe that this team will move forward.

At the same time, Rahman also pleaded to the fans to give the team, especially the youngsters, more time to show their true colours.

“It was encouraging to see them trying hard to adapt (to top flight football). I hope the fans will give them time to show their true qualities.

“It was their first game but I hope they will be able to lift their game in the next match,” said Rahman.

Among the new faces making their debut were 17 years and six months old Leopold Alphonso Otong, Alto Linus, Mohd Fariss Azlan Mat Isa and Hamidin Amat.

And Leopold had a memorable start as he was the one who drew first blood for his side with an easy goal in the 48th minute.

With the exception of Leopold, Alto and Fariss, who started the game, Hamiddin made his debut coming in for Julamri Muhammad with only five minutes remaining.

Rezuan Khan Aman and Mafry Balang also had an encouraging return to the State team while the rest of the first team comprised last season’s players such as Irwan Jamil, Hardy Charles Parsi, Wong Sai Kong, Julamri, Azrul Ejati Damsah and skipper Zainizam Marjan.

Zainizam led by example as he sealed Sabah’s victory with an 81st minute effort after unleashing a powerful low drive from inside the penalty box.

Come Monday, Sabah will have a much tougher mission as they will be pitted against the more experienced Proton FC in an away fixture.

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