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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Full points only option

New Sabah Times
MIDFIELD PRESENCE … Sabri Sahar, (right), will be the main man at the Sabahawks Juniors engine room.
Full points only option MIDFIELD PRESENCE … Sabri Sahar, (right), will be the main man at the Sabahawks Juniors engine room. 13th June, 2013 KOTA KINABALU: The Sabahawks Juniors will be aiming for all the three points when they take on Penang in a President’s Cup challenge at the City Stadium in Penang today.

 Assistant coach Burhan Ajui insisted they are left with no other option but to go for a win if they harbor hope to make the quarter-finals. “We cannot afford to end this tie empty handed. If we look at our position in the standings, even a draw is not good enough,” said Burhan, who will take charge of the team in the absence of head coach Justin Ganai, who could not make the trip due to work commitment.

 This will be the second consecutive game that Bob, as he is fondly known, takes charge of the State Under-21 side. Prior to this date with Penang, he was also in charge when the team nicked a one-all draw against high-flying Johor on Monday. “So our target is crystal clear, and that is to win. Hopefully, the players will play to instruction and play their hearts out.

I will also expect them to play with full commitment and give 100 per cent focus on our objective of wanting to win this game. “I’m quite pleased with the response they have shown against Johor, and if we can play like we did against Johor, I think our chance of nicking a win is quite bright,” Burhan said. Sabahawks Juniors have a lot of catching up to do in making the last eight, as they are currently six points behind Penang, who currently occupy the last spot for the quarter-finals. 

But Burhan will not be having at least one of his first-team players – Shazree Ruhif Ismail. The utility player, who has been deployed in almost all positions at the backline, will sit out the game after collecting his sixth yellow card, which means an automatic two-game suspension. Benerlys Raim, who has been brilliant for the side this season, is also a doubtful starter.

 Burhan said the defender turned midfielder is suffering from a back pain. “We will be having light training later today (yesterday), and we will see how bad his injury is. If he cannot make the game, then we have adequate cover. But it will be great to have him around in the team,” said Burhan. For the record, the first meeting between both sides in the first round, ended in a one-all draw at the Likas Stadium last March.

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