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Monday, June 04, 2012

‘Victory in our hands’

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: High flying Sabahawks Junior are convinced of progressing through to the semi-finals of the President’s Cup challenge 2012. And Sabah team manager Juil Nuatim believes his young charges have what it takes to do a step better than last time out.

 The manager is upbeat especially after seeing his team register a stalemate against Terengganu in the first leg encounter last week. “We must win in order to advance to the next round and I think with the way we performed last week, a victory should be in our hands for us to qualify for the semis.

 “We always play well at home and I’m confident the boys can deliver the result for us tomorrow,” said Juil when contacted yesterday. Sabah were unfortunate not to win the opening-leg after three super attempts were foiled by the upright with the hosts’ keeper well beaten.

 “The match should have been ours for the taking but I guess lady luck was not on our side that day. “We were the better side and we are determined to make amends for this lost opportunity. “We emerged as champions from the Group A challenge which cancels any doubt about the quality that we have in this team.
“We are the stronger side and we are determined to prove that we have a rightful place in the tournament’s last four stage.” added Juil. Victory today will see Sabah as the only team from Group A to feature in the semi-finals where they are set to clash with club side Betaria from Negeri Sembilan.

 The semi-final fixtures were initially scheduled for today but local bookings at the Likas Stadium last week forced organisers to reschedule. The other teams in the semi-finals are Perak and Selangor PKNS. On the other hand, head coach, Johnny Dominicus said he will parade his best squad to help realise their target of making at least the semis.

 “This is a crucial match and we do not want to take any chances. We are confident we can win the match and we have all our top guns to deliver us the victory,” he said. The charges set to claim the win include Zulmanshah Aling and Leopold Alfonso Otong. Zulmanshah, who is a gem, scored countless goals in the Group fixtures and helped snatch victory for the team thus earning a Super Sub label.

 “He has always been content with starting from the bench and has always proved his worth whenever duty calls. “I think he deserves a place in the start-up tomorrow along side Leo, who is also hungry for goals,” said Johnny. Zulmanshah is among two players who were denied their moment of glory at the match in Terengganu last week.

 Feeding them on the right and left flanks will be Zackkalanai Antanom and Maxsius Musa, while Sabri Sahar and Muhamad Md Safar will take charge in centre field. Endre S. Tipay will be the top choice custodian, while blocking-out the attacks will be Dendy Lowa, Didie Azrizal, Razid Gapar and Jetko Romedius.

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