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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Double mission

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabahawks Juniors are hoping to extend their unbeaten run when they take on Johor Melody Jaya in a President’s Cup Group A tie at the Likas Stadium at 4.15pm today.
The State squad recorded three victories and two draws since the start of the league last January, and today Juil Nuatim wants the team to maintain their fine run.

This will be the team’s third home game of the season.
They won the last two – defeating Johor and Kedah with identical 2-1 scorelines.
“We have been doing okay since the start of the season, and I’m proud of the players for trying their level best in all our previous matches.

“As I have said earlier, the season has been pretty tough, but we managed to cope with it rather well and tomorrow (today), I’m expecting the team to play with the same kind of determination and spirit and go for victory,” the Sabah team manager said when contacted yesterday.

And Juil is also giving his charges an additional target – to keep a clean sheet in this tie.
“We have yet to lose a match this season, but in all our matches, we failed to keep a clean sheet. So this time, I hope the players will try their best not to concede any goals,” said Juil.

Meanwhile, head coach, Johnny Dominicus said that all players will be available for today’s encounter, with the exception of midfielder, Sabri Sahar and defender, Apolinario Talakos, who are both out nursing injuries.
“Aside from the two injured players, the rest are all ready to be fielded,” said Johnny before revealing that he has yet to decide on his first 18 squad for today’s clash.

“I’ll do that after our training today. Furthermore, I still need to wait for our striker Eyo (Mathew) … whether he will be available for the match.
The striker had to withdraw at the eleventh hour in their last match due to the demise of a family member.
Johnny said they are also hoping to get the services of Leopold Alfonso Otong and Rozaimi Abdul Rahman from the Super League squad.

“Their availability, however, will only be known this (yesterday) evening as they may be required to join the senior squad for the friendly against the Malaysian national team on Friday,” said Johnny.
The senior squad, led by head coach, Justin Ganai, is scheduled to meet with Datuk K. Rajagobal’s side in a scheduled friendly at the Likas Stadium tomorrow night (Friday).

“Whatever the circumstances may be regarding the availability of the two senior players, our boys will be ready.
“We have formulated a plan to win the points and most of the 25 players at our disposal have already featured in previous matches, which means they have all tasted action and will know what to do to win the match,” said Johnny.

Their exact position in the standings has yet to be determined (pending official release by FAM), but it is safe to say they are in the top three having accumulated 11 points.
They registered a 2-1 win against Johor in their first test of the season, before going on to beat Melaka, 4-1, on the road.
They also edged Kedah, 2-1, while their matches against Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and KL Sime Darby ended in satisfactory 1-1 draws.

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