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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Juniors confident of bagging full points

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabahawks Juniors are looking good for an easy three points when they take on Johor Melodi Jaya on the road in a President’s Cup Group A challenge at the Kulai Mini Stadium in Kulai Johor today.

 Even team manager Juil Nuatim is relatively at ease ahead of the clash, and is optimistic his charges will return home with the desired result. “As long as they play their usual game, and play wholeheartedly, I’m confident we will get the result.

 “My advice to them is not to underestimate their opponents or start taking things for granted. But I’m confident they will give all the best they could, and if they do that we should face no real problem tomorrow (today),” Juil added. In their first meeting, Sabahawks Juniors edged Johor Melodi Jaya 2-0 at the Likas Stadium.

 Juil was also proud to note that the season has been great for his team. Their consistent performance week in week out has placed them in second in the 13-team standings on 45 points. They are only separated by goal difference with the League leaders Kedah, who too are on 45 points, but have a superior goal difference.
After 18 matches into the season, the Sabahawks Juniors registered 14 victories, three draws and one defeat (losing 1-0 away to Kedah). Juil also believes that confidence in the team is high, especially after the hard-fought 3-2 victory over third-placed KL Sime Darby at the Likas Stadium in their last battle.

 He also insisted that victory is important for them in order to keep the pressure on Kedah. “Our target will be nothing less than three points because we want to keep the pressure on Kedah while at the same time try to widen the gap between us and KL Sime Darby, who have 43 points.

 “We started really well and so far we only lost one match this season. We want to maintain our performance to try and regain our position as the top team in the League,” said Juil. Meanwhile, head coach Johnny Dominicus also concurred with his manager that this looks to be a routine match for his boys.

 Johnny said all of his key players are available for the clash except for first-choice custodian Entre S. Tipay, who is still recuperating from injury, and Maxsius Musa, who is down with a hamstring problem. The rest, Johnny added are available for options, including Malaysian Super League-based striker Leopold Alfonso Otong and midfielder Sabri Sahar.

 He also revealed that they have roped in former player Adiafandi Dullah to replace Apolinario Talakos, who has quit the team to join Prisons Department. “He was part of the squad last year, and will help strengthen the midfield or the left flank,” Johnny said.

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