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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sabah unfazed by big loss in friendly
David McCreery
SABAH were handed a footballing lesson by the Red Giants their friendly at Shah Alam stadium yesterday but the Borneo side’s coach David McCreery feels the results won’t dampen their spirit in a bid to win the Premier League title next season. Sabah were outplayed in almost every department and were handed a morale-sapping 3-0 defeat by the 32-time Malaysia Cup champions.

 McCreery said despite the loss, Sabah still had all the ingredients to fight for the Premier League title. “We cannot compare ourselves to Selangor who are of Super League standard. And that doesn’t mean that we can be among the contenders for the Premier League. “Playing against a very experienced side like Selangor needs good preparation and we didn’t have that today.”

 McCreery pointed out that one of the reasond behind his team’s lacklustre performance was the journey which his players had to make from Kota Kinabalu. “We only took our flight in the morning and travelled, trained and played a competitive match within a short period – something which is not easy,” he said.

 The Englishman pointed out that player fitness was his main priority as it would determine how they performed once the season begins. “I have a lot of young players but they lack fitness, which is why I want them to focus more on stamina training,” McCreery said. Sabah was scheduled to play a number of friendly matches in the Philippines but due to some bad weather, the matches had to be called off.

 They will play their next friendly against Police on Friday at Balakong before returning back home to prepare from the Premier League which starts on Jan 8. The SabaHawks have bolstered their current squad with some new names in the likes of goalkeeper Mohd Syamsuri Mustapha who was acquired from PBDKT T-Team FC, Rhys Weston from Iceland club, KR Reykjavik and Koh Traore from Algerian club WA Tlemcen.

 McCreery said that in total Sabah have so far brought in 14 new faces to the team for next season in their bid to make a comeback to the Super League. 55-year-old McCreery also had the chance to celebrate Christmas in a happy mood after his two month pending salary was finally settled by the Sabah FA. Payment to the players have also been settled according to McCreery.

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