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Thursday, June 27, 2013

No room for complacency

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabahawks Juniors have been urged to show the right character when they take on Armed Forces in a President’s Cup challenge at the Likas Stadium today. Datuk Juil Nuatim said that despite the fact that they are taking on a side that has conceded the most goals in the competition, there is no reason for them to take their opponents lightly.

 “There is no place for complacency. Although they have conceded the most goals in the league, but their scoring record is better than ours. “We have to be at our best and go out there to get the three points,” said the Sabahawks Juniors team manager. Juil admitted that their hope of making the quarter-finals is hanging by a thread following their 0-1 defeat to Terengganu on Monday.

 However, he added, they are not going to throw in the towel just yet. “I’m sure everyone is thinking about the slim hope that we have but I don’t want it to be a distraction to the players. They must give their full concentration. “I want the players to fight until the end no matter whether we make it or not. The most important thing is we win our remaining three games, starting with this one against the Armed Forces,” said Juil.

 For the record, Armed Forces are the only side in the league that has conceded more than 100 goals, but their scoring record is slightly better than the Sabahawks Juniors with 33 goals under their belt. Sabahawks have scored 27 goals and conceded 26 from 31 games. In the first round, Sabahawks Juniors nicked a 1-0 victory over the same opponents on the road, and Juil insisted they must go for a bigger win. “We have to give it a good go and try to score as many goals as possible, because at the end of the day, you never know.

Our passage to the last eight could be decided by goal difference,” he said. Sabahawks Juniors are currently 10th on 44 points from 10 wins, 14 draws and seven defeats in the 18-team standings while Armed Forces languish second from bottom on 19 points from five wins, four draws and 22 defeats. The State side is four points behind eight-placed Penang, who occupy the last slot for the quarter-finals while ninth-placed Negeri Sembilan is on 47 points.

 On paper, the Sabahawks Juniors have nothing more than just an outside chance of making it through into the last eight with Negeri Sembilan seen to be holding the upper hand despite trailing by one point from Penang. Sabahawks Juniors travel to Johor for a date with Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School on July 1, before concluding their challenge by playing host to lowly Sarawak on July 4.

 As for Penang, they take on Kelantan away today before hosting Perak prior to their last game of the season away to Kedah. Negeri Sembilan should face no problem in nicking all the three points against Kuala Lumpur on the road (today). After the away tie, they host Police before concluding their challenge by taking on Bukit Jalil Sports Schools away.

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