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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soldier on!

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Justin Ganai wants his charges to carry on fighting and work hard as he ponders making a formation change in a bid to end the team’s scoring woes. The Sabahawks Juniors head coach insisted that they have enough games left to make it right, and that as long as they are willing to work hard, the goals and the results will come sooner rather than later.

 “We have enough games left to get our challenge back on track. It is not going to be easy, but I believe we can do it,” said Justin when contacted yesterday. Sabahawks Juniors dropped to the bottom half in the 18-team standings after nicking a 1-1 draw against Penang, which was their sixth in 11 games, on Monday.

 Although they finally managed to break the duck, but the result has left them without a win in five matches. Justin knows their toothless front has been their main problem, where thus far they merely managed to find the back of the net only eight times, which is the worst scoring record in the league. Sabahawks Juniors are not alone, as both lowly Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak, also scored the same number of goals.

Even bottom of the table Armed Forces scored more goals than the three teams, with 10. Justin has been pinning his hopes on leading striker Rexjeson Pitirus together with Zul Mansshah Aling with both Eyo Matthew and Mohd Alfian Jamil, who was deployed at the right flank against Penang. It was Mohd Alfian that scored the equaliser from a header after Penang had taken the lead earlier on.

 “It has been a difficult month for us. We just found it hard to score. In some matches, we created enough scoring chances, but just could not finish them off. For instance, against Penang, we were denied twice either by the goalpost or the crossbar, and we also had two one-on-one opportunities, but didn’t score either,” he said. “We need to look for the solution, and maybe, I might have to tinker on our formation.

 I’m thinking of ditching the 4-4-2 we have been using, and will consider 3-5-2 or 4-5-1. We will see how it goes in training. We have about six days before our next game, and there is no harm trying it out in training,” said Justin. Justin said that he is happy with the development of his defenders, who have been doing alright. “What we are looking at now is our midfielders and our strikers.

Their combination and understanding among each other needs to be improved,” he said. To a question, Justin said that he is optimistic that they will make a top-eight finish, which will ensure them a place in the quarter-finals. “If we can find our form again, our confidence, our wins, then our challenge will be back on track. For now, we just have to carry on fighting and work hard.

 “I’m confident we can do it. We just need to pick ourselves up, stay together and perform well until the end of the season,” he added The Sabahawks Juniors are currently 10th in the standings on 15 points. Eighth placed Kedah and ninth placed Melaka are also on 15, but ahead of Sabah on goal difference. They take on Perlis away on March 25.

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