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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Gunning for winning start

New Sabah Times
SPONSORSHIP BOOST ... Juil, (left), receiving the sponsorship for the team from Ararat Sports and Souvenirs Sdn Bhd’s Ben Wong (2nd right), during a simple ceremony at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, yesterday.

 KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is hoping to kick start their President’s Cup 2012 challenge on the right footing. They take on Johor in the Group A opener at the Likas Stadium today. Kick off time has been set for 4.15pm.

 Team Manager Juil Nuatim said it will be great to start their challenge by getting the right result. Furthermore, he added they will be having the slight homeground advantage, and they must try to capitalise on whatever advantages they have. “We have a good team and the players have trained very hard. Johnny (Dominicus – team coach) has done a decent job to prepare them for this first match and I am confident they will perform well.

 “They seem ready and are raring to go and their fitness levels are all OK. If we play our cards right we should be able to score the points. Juil said this when met at the handing over of sponsorship ceremony at the Likas Stadium yesterday. Ararat Sports and Souvenirs Sdn Bhd are sponsoring the State squad’s attire for the new season. Juil also said that their preparations for the new season have been quite solid. He said the team has also played several friendly matches against local clubs as well as the seniors.

 “I believe our preparations have been quite great considering the time that we have, which is slightly over a month. We have done what we could and hopefully, it will be good enough for us to face the challenges ahead of us. On today’s clash, Juil said that they have players on the injury list that are doubtful for the clash.

“There are one or two players nursing injuries, who are unlikely to make the match. However, the rest are available for options,” said Juil, adding that they will be banking on several key players to do the job. “We have players from last year’s squad still in the team, and they have the experience to lead the new players.” 

Meanwhile, Johnny said all other members of the squad are fit for the game, with the exception of right-back, Mohd Idzihar Qaidi Jaidi from Tawau and goalie, Nikyus Saiddatul Sofian Yusup from Labuan. Johnny also said that they are hoping to get the services of three senior-based players in Leopold Alfonso Otong, Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman and Sabri Sahar for the clash.

 However, at press time, they had yet to get the green light to use any of the three. After Johor, Sabah will travel to take on Melaka on February 6, before another away match against Bukit Jalil Sports School three days later. Sabah will return to host Kedah on February 16.

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