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Monday, May 28, 2012

Today, vs Terengganu President's Cup quarters

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah team manager Juil Nuatim wants his charges to have a positive frame of mind when they face off with Terengganu in this highly anticipated first leg of the President’s Cup quarter-final encounter at the Sultan Ismail Nasaruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu today.

 The manager insists that it is of utmost importance for the players to face their opponent with a clear mind in order to bring the best out of them and produce the desired result from this decisive tie. He said in a match like this, they could not afford to make any errors.

 “At this stage of the tournament, which is as good as a do-or-die battle, there is no room for errors. For that reason, I want the players to go into the battle field with the right frame of mind,” said Juil when contacted in Kuala Terengganu yesterday. “I want them to give their fullest concentration and focus throughout the game.

 “The target is like always … try to win the game. But even if we settle for a draw, we’ll still be happy with it,” he added. He knows they are facing an unknown opponent, who finished fourth in Group B. “We do not know much about them apart from that they finished fourth. However, we have seen their statistic, and it is impressive. Nevertheless, there is no fear. “In fact, this makes us more attentive and we are prepared for the battle ahead,” said Juil.
“It is important for us to get something out from this game, as it will surely give us the upper hand when we play the return leg at the Likas Stadium on June 4. “Team spirit is pretty much high and I’m delighted of it and hopefully this will continue during the match tomorrow (today).

 “Although we are playing away from home, I’m still expecting them to deliver. We have done so well whether it is a home or away tie in the group stage. “I have told the players that their efforts of doing so well in the preliminary round will be meaningless if we cannot get pass this stage of the tournament.

 One look at my chargers, I can see that they are up for it and I’m confident of getting a positive result.” Juil said that he left it to his coaching staff led by head coach Johnny Dominicus to tinker on a winning recipe. “The coaching staff have done a good job. I believe they already have something up their sleeves for the game.

 Sabahawks Junior have been high flying high in the group challenge by registering 17 wins, four draws and a mere defeat (from 22 games) to eventually see them top the group (A) on 55 points. They scored 45 goals and conceded 13. On the other hand, Terengganu won 16, six draws and four defeats from 26 games that saw them finishing fourth on 54 points behind group winner (B) Selangor PKNS (62 points), Perak (58) and NS Betaria (55).

 Johnny is expected to name Endre S. Tipay as his ball stopper while his back-four defence will be led by skipper Didie Arizal Ibrahim, Dendy Lowa, Denisi Mekhadan and Razid Gapar. In the midfield, he will rely on Sabri Sahar, Muhd Mohd Safar, Umareng Bacok and Mohd Adiafandi Dullah while Super League-based striker Leopold Alfonso Otong and Zackkalani Antanom will be the men leading the attack.

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