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Monday, February 27, 2012

‘Going gets tough’


New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Juil Nuatim has urged his charges to be mentally prepared when taking on defending champions Kelantan in the President’s Cup Group A challenge at the Sultan Mohd Stadium today.
He said that this is not going to be an easy point on the road, and that they really have a fight in their hands and they have to give their best shot in order to snatch something out from the game.

“This is going to be one tough encounter for us. They are the defending champions, and we must be mentally prepared and give the best we can,” the Sabah team manager said when contacted yesterday.
Unbeaten Sabah is currently top of the 13-team standings, and will go into the game riding high after registering four wins and two draws in their last six matches.

In their three previous away outing, they won once and ended the other two matches in a draw. They also won all their three home matches thus far.
“It would be good to maintain our unbeaten streak as it would help instill greater confidence in the team or among the players. Although this will be a difficult fixture, I still believe that we have what it takes to bring home at least a point from the game,” Juil said.

Sabah will be strengthened by two players from the State Super League side in Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman and Leopold Alfonso Otong.
This will give the team a timely boost ahead of the clash that is set to kick off at 4.45pm.

And like Juil, head coach Johnny Dominicus is also hoping the team would pick up at least a point from the tie.
“We are on a six-match unbeaten run and we will want to defend it thus strengthening our league position. It will not be an easy battle against Kelantan though. We do not know their true strength apart from the current league position where they are in third place,” Johnny said.

“But we will be ready for them and I expect it will be a good fight (for points) between the teams,” he added.
While welcoming Rozaimi and Leopold, Johnny will not have midfielder Sabri Sahar due to injury.
The team’s current top scorer Zul Mansshah Aling will also be out after collecting his third yellow card in the 2-0 win over Johor Melody Jaya last Thursday.

“Their experience will be crucial and will help us greatly against Kelantan,” said Johnny referring to Rozaimi and Leopold, who have been featuring for the senior side.
“Leopold as usual will play up front while Rozaimi will play in a more advanced role than playing wide in the senior team.
“Rozaimi is a very skillful player and I want him to express himself and create openings or even get into scoring position,” Johnny said while hinting that he is not going to make any major changes to his first team squad.

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