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Sunday, July 15, 2012

QPR happy to kick off tour in Sabah

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: English Premier League outfit Queens Park Rangers arrived in the Land Below the Wind yesterday, bringing almost its full squad, including their latest star signing Ji Sung Park, for the friendly game against Sabah Selection on Tuesday. They touched down at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport Terminal 2 at about 1.10pm under a drizzle.

 QPR is on a two-week Asian Tour and Sabah is their first stop before heading to Kelantan and Indonesia. Besides Park, who was signed from Manchester United, the other big names in the squad include Bobby Zamora, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Robert Green, Cisse, Adel Taarabt and Andrew Johnson. Fabio Da Silva, who is on a season loan from Manchester United, was also part of the delegation.

 The only top name missing is Joey Barton, who is facing a possible exit. Speaking at a press conference upon their arrival, QPR CEO Philip Beard said they are pretty much looking forward to the game. “The friendly match will be as friendly since we arrived in the last 20 minutes, so it will be fantastic.

As a club we are truly delighted and pleased to be here. It is the first time in the history of the club. The club has travelled … it’s a long journey but everything has been made up for by the reception we had here today. “We thank everybody here today and we are looking forward to the game this Tuesday against Sabah,” said Beard.

 “We have brought the whole squad here with us and so we’re expecting a very competitive yet enjoyable game and we are very much looking forward towards spending our four days here before leaving for Kuala Lumpur. “And I think Tuesday would be an exciting evening. When asked on a report of Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy signing for the club, he said:

“Craig Bellamy is not in the tour party with us. We have spent 24 hours travelling but nothing like that has happened while we are touring. I think we have strengthened the squad significantly already, very early in the transfer window.” “We have got some fantastic players to join the club with the tour party with Park Ji-Sung and Fabio Da Silva in the party.

I think we have a strong squad not just for this trip but also for the upcoming Premier League next season. On Joey’s absence, he said: “Joey is not making the pre-season tour, he has a 12-match ban in the Premier League and he is focusing on his training since he came back. We just want to see what happens. According to Beard, a majority of the squad haven’t been to Asia.

 “I think everyone will be very excited and for us to get some serious rest but the guys who trained the players already have some training sessions lined up. “We are also trying to get to see some of Kota Kinabalu. I think we got one or two events organised so we are excited. But this is a proper pre-season.

This is designed for three matches to get the players prepared for the opening game of the season against Swansea on Aug 18. “We hope we get to have a bit of fun here. Beard also refused to be drawn into Anton Ferdinand’s court case, by merely saying: “I think Anton Ferdinand is pretty much with the squad this week.

All I can say is we are on a transit and it’s been 24 hours. We just arrived and so we haven’t caught up with the news these couple of days. And having looked at how things have shaped but most importantly is to focus on the tour.” “I think it’s been a very exciting time for the team these few years.

Journeying to the other side of the world is very, very exciting. We have been well looked after by AirAsia on the trip here and we had an exciting flight from Hong Kong.” Local fans who wish to meet their idols will have the opportunity to do so today during the meet the fan session at their base in Sutera Harbour.

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