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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Win or doom!

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s future in the Super League is on the line when they face fellow relegation-threatened Kedah at the Likas Stadium tonight. Although there are another six matches left to play, but a defeat for Sabah could well see them joining the already relegated Kuala Lumpur to feature in the Premier League next season.

 This is a tie that Sabah must win at all costs! Failing to win this means, there is nothing more we can expect from them from the remainder of their fixtures. The only easy tie, at least on paper, left for them is the one against Kuala Lumpur. Fortunately, they will play the initially away tie, at the Likas Stadium on Saturday (June 30), on Kuala Lumpur’s request.

 After the Kuala Lumpur date, they travel to Johor FC before playing home to Terengganu. This will be followed by an away trip to Selangor before they conclude their season by playing against Negeri Sembilan at home. Looking at what they have to face in the remainder of their fixtures, the task is pretty much uphill for inexperienced stand-in coach Andrew Majanggim, who was given the heavy burden following the removal of head coach Justin Ganai last Monday.

 Sabah will go into the match on the back of a five-match losing streak, including the humiliating 0-9 and 0-4 defeats by Lions XII FC and Selangor PKNS. While they managed to avoid another humiliation last Saturday after conceding a 2-0 defeat to Kelantan, but that result does not do any good at the moment, as what counts are the points.

 They are currently occupying one of the two relegation spots in 13th placing on 19 points while Kedah are just above them with a two-point advantage from a similar 20 matches played. Kuala Lumpur languish at the bottom of the standings on four points. “It is a must-win match,” said Andrew, while hoping to build on their much improved performance against Kelantan to end their rot.

 “We played much better, and hopefully it would give us some confidence going into tomorrow’s tie. “Victory is very important as it could lift the morale of the team. There are another five matches to go (after tonight’s tie) and we must try to win as many as possible,” he added.

 To a question, Andrew said that he is likely to make one or two changes to the side that played against Kelantan. “I think I’m going to make minor changes. I’m planning to bring back Zul Mansshah Aling into the first team. He missed our last game due to suspension, so I was forced to play another junior (Dendy Lowa), as the left-back.

With Zul around, Dendy will start from the bench. Apart from that, he hinted that he will also revert to a 4-4-2 formation with Jufrey Omopor partnering Zainizam Marjan in attack. The rest remain unchanged from the last game with Azizon Abd Kadir in goal, protected by the back four in Razid Gapar, Rosdin Wasli, Mohd Reithuddin Emran and Zul Mansshah. In midfield, foreign import Hendrik Helmke will partner Radzi Hussin in the middle of the park with Shahrul Azhar Ture on the right and K Thanaraj left.

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