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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Players need time to adapt

Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Criticism of the State football team must stop as this is a new squad needing transition. Being denied the acceptance, patience and tolerance that usually goes with it will increase intense pressure from the fans that will definitely affect the performance of the players on the pitch. After their 2-0 defeat to Kedah on Monday, Sabah found themselves in 7th position in the Premier League standings with six points from five matches played which was five points off their intended target of 11 points.

 They are seven points behind leaders PDRM and the players need to improve their game fast if they are to get back within a shout of the race for promotion next season. Based on their matches played so far, they lacked a powerful presence in the middle of the field who can provide excellent cover for the back line and at the same time able to go forward.

 Youngster Sabri Sahar, who only played in the first half of the opening match against KL SPA suits the role perfectly but why was he not allowed to play in the latter matches is anybody's guess. No doubt he did not play up to the mark in the game but it wasn't easy for anybody coming in especially with so much responsibility in that position and with new faces around you as well.

 It was understood that he received a lot of stick from the bench during the match and that did not help the 20-year-old's confidence at all. People must realise that almost half of the team are new players and they need time to adapt. It did not help too, with the coach hardly having a hand in choosing some of the players who started the match in the first place.

 The team will take a welcome two-week break from the Premier League matches and hopefully the players will regain their confidence and touch during this time. Their next match is the FA Cup tie against Felda United here at the Likas Stadium on Friday (Jan 25) before the Premier League second leg resumes on Feb 8 where Sabah will take on Pos Malaysia also at the Likas Stadium.

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