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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Alberts focused on winning derby

BorneoPost Online
HITMAN: Sarawak will bank on Joel Epalle in the attacks tonight. He was the scorer for Sarawak’s equaliser again Kuala Lumpur last week which ended 1-1. — Photo by Jeffery Mostapa
 KUCHING: Despite having to play in an empty stadium, Sarawak coach Robert Alberts has called his players to remain focused on their game plan and only settle for a win in tonight’s derby match against neighbours Sabah . Alberts does not want his players to be distracted by off-field matters and hoped they will play their usual game.

 He reiterated that his players need to understand that with or without the fans’ presence, tonight’s match is no different from the other matches they had played previously. “I know some of the players especially the young ones will be mentally affected but looking at the bright side, I hope this will give them better experience for coming matches,” he added.

 The turns of events will not be in the Crocs’ favour simply because Sabah have always been the bogey team when playing home but the coach is still optimistic based on their recent 2 – 2 away match. He however wants a win today and will do his best to motivate the players.

 During the last match against Kuala Lumpur last Saturday, he admitted that the team was not playing up to their mark. They were trailing 0-1 before the breather and the second half saw the Crocs fought back to earn the equaliser. They were rather unfortunate to go home without bagging all three points on that day.
Ashri Chuchu will not start today as he is on national duty for two months but Alberts however is confident that he has adequate back-up for the flanker. “Rashid Aya will return today and it is good to have him back. He has been out for almost two months,” he said.

Saiful Amar Sudar is expected to man the post as the first-choice keeper Sani Anuar Kamsani is out with a knee problem. The custodian has proven a good back up with one of his impressive displays for Sarawak was against his former team Selangor recently.

There will be a no-show from captain Hairol Mokhtar as he starts his eight-match ban today and Guy Bwele is expected to captain the team as he has done a great job so far marshalling the Crocs’ midfield. In the frontline, Joel Epalle is expected to spearhead the attack and he recently broke his five-match scoring duck against Kuala Lumpur last week and his work rate has been very helpful for the team.

Whatever the odds are, Sarawak players must always bear in mind that the fans are always there with them even if they were forced to play in an empty venue. The fans can still come to the Stadium Negeri and watch the match through a big screen installed at the stadium’s carpark to enable them to watch the match.

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