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Wednesday, January 04, 2012


New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah head coach Justin Ganai is likely to unveil a shadow of his first-team squad when they take on Brunei in a friendly match at the Penampang Stadium today.

The match that is expected to kick off at 4.15pm was mooted to give the State Super League squad the much needed match fitness ahead of the big kick off on January 10.

It came rather late, but as the old saying goes ‘better late than never’ as these two ties against the same side will also give Justin the chance to fine tune his side before they take on KL Felda United FC on the road next Tuesday.

But today will be the chance for Justin to try out his possible first team.
With the kick off just around the corner, he is expected to rest them for the second friendly on January 6 (Friday).

Team manager Haji Shahriman Abdullah said the two scheduled matches against the oil-rich sultanate state will present the State squad a good challenge.

He said the two ties will be crucial in their final preparations for the new season.
“We are pretty much looking forward to the game, and I can see that it is going to be an exciting and competitive match,” said Shahriman.

“For the record, like us, Brunei have been training for the last two months as they are preparing their team for national duty. So I believe these two matches will benefit both sides.

Shahriman also said that Justin has made headway with the team and that he has more or less identified his first 11 players.
He also said that despite the shortcomings during the preseason, the team have managed to come together quite well and that he was happy to note that everyone in the team has been playing their part in getting the team prepared, including former Rhinos’ hotshot Scott Ollerenshaw, who has been working with the attacking players.

Late last month, Sabah went to Sarawak and played twice against the Crocs where they lost 0-1 in the first match before drawing in the second.

Meanwhile, Sabah FA Secretary General, Alijus Hj Sipil urges the local fans to come and see their beloved team in action.

He said this is an opportunity for the fans to see their side in action before they play their first home tie of the season against Sarawak on January 14.

Alijus also said that they are also charging a minimal fee by selling tickets priced at RM3 and RM5.
“This is to help the FA to cover the expenses incurred for inviting the Brunei team,” said Alijus.

“This will be the last preparations for the team before they head into the new season and we hope the loyal Sabah supporters would turn up to catch them in action in these two fixtures,” said Alijus.
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