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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bring them on, say Sabah


FA CUP: Selangor can expect a torrid tie in Kota Kinabalu THE FA Cup, not the Malaysia Cup is Selangor's main target this season but their second round opponents Sabah are confident of ending the former champions' dream on Tuesday in Kota Kinabalu. Selangor may have not won the Malaysia Cup since 2005 but the importance of achieving it this season has taken a back-seat as the FA Cup has become the priority.

Sabah, who are seventh in the Premier League, are however, confident of an upset following their 2-1 win over Super League side Felda United in the first round on Jan 25. Newly appointed manager Datuk Yusof Kassim said his team's quest is to end Selangor's Cup aspirations. "We are competing not to make up the numbers ...we are here to make progress and win the trophy for the first time since 1995," Yusof told Timesport yesterday.

"Nobody can guarantee you a spot, but our objective is clear, to qualify for the next round of the FA Cup, and we seek to win every match. "We must make home advantage count. It's important to get back-to-back wins at home as we need the confidence to keep going." Yusof was appointed team manager, replacing Sabah FA secretary Alijus Sipil, who stepped down citing work commitments on Jan 16.

Sabah coach David McCreery, a former Northern Ireland international, had questioned the desire and commitment of his players following a mixed start to the season. The team have notched only six points from wins over SPA Putrajaya (2-1) and NS Betaria (2-0) in five league matches. But Sabah, relegated from the top-tier competition last season, are showing signs of improvement in training.

 "The players are going an extra mile in training after the win over Felda. They are motivated and raring to achieve our targets. "Selangor are the favourites. We're giving them respect, but we're not afraid." Sabah are made up of a mixed squad of seniors and juniors, led by foreign duo -- Burkina Faso striker Koh Traore and former Welsh international Rhys Weston.

Traore is the team's top scorer with three goals while Weston, a former youth player at Arsenal, leads the back-line.

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