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Friday, December 09, 2011

Selection ‘headache’

JOINT EFFORT … Sam Tan, (right), presents the membership card to Brendan Gan, one of Sabah’s two foreign signings.

KOTA KINABALU: The new season has not even kicked off, but Sabah Head Coach Justin Ganai has already got the feeling that choosing his best 11 squad is something that would give him a ‘headache’.
The reason being, he pointed out that unlike this season, where options are limited, but for the new season, he has an abundance of choices, and it involves all departments, including goalkeepers.

“The fight for the first team is going to be very competitive. And I am happy to note that this is going to be a healthy competition, and a positive thing happening within the team,” said Justin, as he indirectly hinted that he has a more balanced squad for the upcoming Malaysian Super League 2012 campaign.

Justin said that the return of former State footballers and the emerging talents from the Reserve League as well as new recruits, including the two new foreign imports, has created rivalry among the players.

This Justin said was a welcoming affect which has brought nothing but positive changes to the team’s development.

“We have a lot of good players and I think I might have to crack my head just to choose who among them will be on the first-11 list.

“The return of players like Ronny (Harun) and Bobby (Gonzales) is what triggered this to happen and it seems everyone on the team is working hard to find a place in the top line-up,” said Justin, when met at a membership ceremony after the team’s fitness session at Core Fitness Centre Point yesterday.

Justin added that another factor that contributed to the positive development is that this time around, all the players only signed a one-year contract with the FA.

Another positive note, he pointed out, is that the fitness level of the players is pretty impressive.
“The fitness of the team is much better than this season. In terms of fitness, we are more than ready.
“In fact our fitness level is at its highest, and this is because we have the Core Fitness sessions to add to the regular sessions provided by Sulaiman (Arman – the team’s fitness coach).

“The only thing lacking now is competitive friendly matches, which we are still trying to finalise.
“We need to play against more competitive teams to gauge our real strength. Hopefully our trip to Kuala Lumpur will materialise soon.

Overall, Justin said he was satisfied with the team’s preparations.
On their sessions at the Core Fitness, he said the players have been training at the centre twice weekly for the past three weeks.

The fitness schedule is a joint effort between Core Fitness and the Sabah FA (50-50 sponsorship).
Core Fitness (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Sam Tan presented the membership cards to the players. Also present were Sabah FA treasurer-cum-team manager, Hj Shahriman Abdullah and Core Fitness chairman, Datuk C. K. Tan.

Shahriman said the Sabah FA chose Core Fitness because of its equipment and facilities, which he said was the most advanced in the state capital. He thanked Datuk Tan for contributing to the state team’s fitness development.

The State squad will be heading to Ranau on Saturday to play against Ranau Selection.
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