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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Alijus wants better show

New Sabah Times
THE SABAH BENCH … from left, Alijus, assistant coach Johnny Dominicus and McCreery, with players and other coaching staff during the Sabah-NS Betaria tie on Monday.
KOTA KINABALU: Despite winning two out of their three opening matches, there are still plenty of question marks hanging over whether the Sabahawks have what it takes to challenge for the 2013 Premier League crown. After 270 minutes of action thus far, many would agree that the State senior side are far from being dubbed as title contenders.

 In the opener at home, they struggled to a 2-1 opening win over all-local KL SPA Putrajaya before being inflicted with their first defeat after losing 3-1 to KL Sime Darby FC away. On Monday, they nicked their second home win after chalking up a 2-0 victory over lowly NS Betaria. And based on the three games, there is still a lot to be done on the team, before we could start dreaming about Super League promotion. 

Even Alijus Hj Sipil admitted that there is plenty of room for improvement. The Sabahawks interim team manager is hoping that the team keep improving their performances with each match. “After three matches into the season, we can see that there are so many aspects that we can improve within the team.

 “With the coaching staff led by our head coach (David McCreery), I believe they can do it, especially in midfield where they still look a little messy. We also need to be more lethal upfront, while our defence has shown a positive improvement in our last three games,” said Alijus.

 He also stressed on the importance of mental strength among the players, insisting that they have to be able to stay focused throughout the 90 minutes of play. “There must not be any moments of complacency among the players during play. They have to stay alert at all times, and must be able to give their best until the final whistle is blown,” said Alijus.

 “Overall, I’m happy with the commitment shown by the players. I’m also happy with their attitude, spirit and determination to win. I hope they will keep it up while maintaining the spirit of teamwork because to win games we don’t want a one-man show, but to do it as a big team. “We know we want to be right up there at the end of the season, so it is important for the team to keep working hard from now,” said Alijus.

 The victory over NS Betaria has helped the Sabahawks climb three rungs up from eighth to fifth in the 12-team standings. They are three points behind leaders Police, who have a perfect record from three games for a maximum nine points after winning all their matches with flying colours, thrashing NS Betaria 5-0 before drubbing Kuala Lumpur 4-0 and Kedah 2-0. Sabahawks will be taking on Kuala Lumpur away this Friday before playing Kedah at home on Monday (Jan 21).

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