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Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Awang’s boys storm into quarters

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Under-19 coach Awang Sabtu Jamil is taking one match at time as he quietly sets his sights in guiding his charges into the championship decider. Awang, who successfully led Sabah to their first ever President’s Cup title in 1999, has managed to clear the first hurdle after concluding their Group C challenge finishing behind group winners and host Kedah.

 The second-placed feat means, Awang Sabtu’s boys made it into the knockout stage – the quarter-finals. The State squad had not the best of starts to their campaign after losing to the host 0-1 in the opener. However, they came back strongly in their do-or-die mission by demolishing neighbour Sarawak 5-0 in their second and final group game on Sunday.

 And with Kedah winning 3-1 over Sarawak yesterday, Sabah had to be contented with second in the group, and would face Kelantan in the last eight, which Awang predicted would be a tough assignment for his boys. “We have successfully made it past the group stage and now we are eying a spot in the semi-finals.

But we are going to take one game at a time, and the match against Kelantan is not going to be an easy one. “However, I believe that with the squad that we have, our chances of making it through into the last four are there,” said Awang, when contacted at the tournament venue in Universiti Utara Malaysia in Sintok, Kedah, yesterday.

 Awang Sabtu said his charges are ready to make the most of the match tomorrow (May 9), although they need to be careful as defeat means it is game over! Prior to the team’s departure to the tournament venue, Sabah team manager, Ahmad Syuaib Nasir said their target was to reach the final and thus far it seems that the young squad are headed in the right direction.

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