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Monday, March 25, 2013

‘Avoid the slide’

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Juil Nuatim is calling on his team to start winning matches and avoid slipping further in the President’s Cup standings. The Sabahawks Junior team manager said that it has been quite a while that the team has not tasted victory, the last one being the slim 1-0 win over Police last February 25. 

Since then, the team only managed to nick four draws and a defeat in their last five games. “This winless thing cannot go on and on. It must be stopped. We have to start winning matches, or it will be too late to recover,” the manager said ahead of their away clash against Perlis at the State Main Stadium in Kangar. “Tomorrow (today) the target is three FULL points,” he said when contacted here yesterday.

 “We have prepared for the game for almost a week, and I’m sure the head coach (Justin Ganai) and his assistants have done their best to come up with a winning strategy. “Now it is up to the players to get it right and to play to instructions … hopefully this will get us the win. He also warned his charges not to underestimate their lowly opponent, insisting that league position doesn’t determine the outcome of the tie. 

“We are well aware Perlis are struggling at the wrong end of the table but we cannot take them lightly. Furthermore, they will have home ground advantage. We also don’t want to see our players to be over-confident, but to give their utmost best and work hard to achieve the desired result,” he added. Sabah will go into the match with their confidence restored after ending a four-game goal drought last week in the one-all home draw against Penang.

 Mohd Alfian Jamil’s scored Sabahawks Junior’s first goal in 360 minutes of action against Penang. They created many chances but lady luck or rather poor finishing denied them a victory. But Juil hopes things will improve in front of goal today especially against a side with a poor defencive record of having letting in 20 goals.

 A victory against Perlis could push Sabahawks Junior back into the top eight in the table with direct rivals Malacca and Kedah facing tricky ties against Terengganu and Bukit Jalil Sports School. After 11 matches, Sabahawks Junior are 10th in the 18-team table on 15 points after winning three, drawing six and losing three.

 As for second from bottom Perlis, they have one win, three draws and seven losses for six points. Kedah currently hold the last quarter-final spot in eighth placing while Malacca in ninth position. Only goal difference separates them with Sabah who share 15 points. Today, Justin is expected to field an unchanged side that drew with Penang with the exception of the suspended Jenius Karib and the injured Shazree Ruhif Ismail. Gerald S. Mojikon is likely to take over from Jenius at the left back while skipper Dendy Lowa will switch to the left back filling the gap left by Shahzree.

 Rawilson Batiul and Benerlys Raim will be the men at the heart of the defence. Hafizan Jahar will be deployed at the right flank while Mohd Alfian on the left with Sabri Sahar and Didie Arizal Ibrahim will orchestrate the engine room. Again, Justin is expected to be banking on the partnership of Rexjeson Pitirus and Zul Mansshah Aling in attack.

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