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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tough task

New Sabah Times
EYO … has just recuperated from an injury and needs more games to get back into top shape.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabahawks Juniors are in for a difficult trip as they face high-riding Pahang in a President’s Cup challenge that kicks off at 4:45pm at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan today. Missing key player in leading striker Rexjeson Pitirus is not helping the team’s cause at all. And he is not alone in missing the boat, as co-striker Mohd Alfian Jamil too has been sidelined.

 Rexjeson is serving his automatic one-match suspension after picking up his third yellow card in the 0-0 draw against Sarawak in their last fixture, while Mohd Alfian is yet to recover from injury. This has left head coach Justin Ganai with limited options in naming his men to spearhead the team’s attacking department. When contacted yesterday, Justin revealed that he is left with only two strikers in Zul Mansshah Aling and Eyo Matthew.

 “Eyo has just recuperated from an injury, and he needs more games to get back into top shape. So Ateng (Zul Mansshah) is the only fit striker that we have now, but there is nothing more we can do apart from picking the available options that we have,” Justin said. Justin’s boys have found it difficult to score goals this season.

They merely managed to score 12 times this season, which is the fourth worst record in the league. Their lightweight attack saw them concede valuable points, having drawn eight games, which is the most by any team in the league. Having said all that, Justin insists they are going to Kuantan eyeing all the three points.

 “We know Pahang is a good team based on their league standing and it will be tough playing against them especially at their own backyard,” he said. “Scoring is our main problem, and coupled with limited choice to our attacking line-up, it makes it an even more difficult trip. However, it is not an excuse not to get the result against Pahang,” said Justin, adding that a draw would not be a bad result for his side.

 “We’ll be happy with a draw, but the target is to win no matter what the situation is … we will give it our best and try to get the three points,” he insisted. “We need the points to put ourselves in contention for the quarter-finals,” he said. For the record, only the top eight teams will advance into the quarter-finals of the President’s Cup.

 Sabahawks Juniors are ninth in the 18-team table on 23 points, where they also won five and lost three. Pahang, on the other hand, are riding high in third on 30 points from nine wins, three draws and four defeats.

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