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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Defeat unacceptable! Milomir upbeat despite friendly defeat

New Sabah Times/ Daily Express
NO NONSENSE … Milo, (right) at the team’s training session at the Likas Stadium yesterday.
KOTA KINBALU: Sabah will have a lot to prove if they are to win the hearts of their loyal fans when the Premier League kicks off in January 24, 2014. Losing to a village side – Keningau 0-1 – on Tuesday is not the start their fans want to see. And despite the fact that it is still pre-season preparations, but to most, this is something unacceptable, not when we have the State’s best players around, and about half a dozen local imports plus another three foreign signings in our their ranks.

 But to judge the team based on the defeat, however, is a little unfair, as it is still early days, and furthermore, it is a new-look squad as more than half the players are new faces, and they certainly need more time to blend or gel together as a team. Even head coach, Seslija Milomir is as disappointed as anyone to see his team being edged by an amateur side, but then again, this is just the start of his bid to transform the State squad into a dominant force in the Premier League next year.

 And Milo, as he was fondly known by the local fans during his playing days with Sabah in the mid-90s, is not looking for excuses for the shameful defeat. “To be honest, it is not nice to lose against Keningau, and I’m disappointed like anyone else. However, I think we played much better than in our first game (Sabah won 2-1 – also against Keningau),” said Milo, adding that during this pre-season, he is not looking for the result, but more on team building, right from the aspect of fitness to the team’s tactical plans and so on. “We didn’t come here to get the result.

We have been training hard before the game (against Keningau) and after. “So obviously, our players were all tired during the game, but this is what I want them to experience … and push them to the limit. “Even then, we still created numerous scoring chances, and we hit the woodwork four times, and Keningau only managed to create two goalscoring chances, and scored once, which is from a header (Frankey Ayoh). “We have many new faces, and only have three players (seniors) from last year.

I know, everyone is worried, but I’m not worried about the result because at the moment, we are more concerned on their physical and fitness level. “From there, then we will work on technical and tactical aspects and build up the team,” he said, adding that he played all his players during the two friendly games. For the record, they won 2-1 in the first game.

 “We have many young players, and we have to develop them and give them a chance to play. Once we develop them, then we must try to produce the results and so on. “I could have stuck to the experienced players throughout the game, and we might have won 3-0, but that is not what we want to do now. There is no excuse (for the defeat), but we will build the team step by step,” said Milo, thanking his Keningau counterparts for their warm welcome during their short stay in the interior district.

 The team returned home late Tuesday, and Milo wasted no time as the team did two training sessions yesterday.

Kota Kinabalu: Woodwork and bad luck were the main reasons for the shocking 1-0 win by Keningau team against Sabah in their second friendly match played on Tuesday, according to coach Milomir Seslija. He said on Wednesday at the Likas Stadium ahead of their training session that he too was disappointed with the result but was however, upbeat with the players' performances on the pitch.

 "It was never a good feeling to lose a game be it in a friendly or in a competition, but we really had no luck in the game as we squandered six, seven clear chances which either hit the post or the goalkeeper somehow managed to put the ball out using every part of his body while Keningau on the other hand, only created two chances and one went in."

 "We must also understand that we didn't go there to earn a result. Maybe some people expected us to hammer five or even six goals past Keningau but they must realise that we had a gruelling training session before the match and even one after the match." "This showed that I can push the boys to their limits and this is indeed a very good training trip for us as we prepare for the tour of Indonesia next week where we will meet much stronger opponents."

 He said he could have rested the boys just for the match in order to win big but it was of no use as his priority is to prepare them for the league next year. "I am not worried about the result as we are trying to rebuild the team from scratch with only three senior players remaining in the team. Now with the players' excellent physical condition, we only have to concentrate on their technical and tactical aspect of their games from now on."

 He also disclosed that Keningau has a few good players that may be able to go far and he even included Rexjeson Petrus and Eyo Mathew in the team during the friendly. "I tried to play them in the team but they failed to shine but as soon as they crossed over to the Keningau team, they just exploded into life. " "It is hard to explain why but maybe they were just too shy to play with the more experienced players in the team, but they are definitely good players."

 He said of the seven players that were shortlisted after the recent Datuk Seri Musa Aman Cup tournament for a trial with the senior squad, only Mohd Shahrul Chankui from Beluran remained and he is likely to follow the team for the Indonesia trip. He added he may include one or two players from Keningau in the training sessions and try to develop them once the team returns from Indonesia. Meanwhile, the scorer for Keningau in the 1-0 win over Sabah was Fransky Ayoh while Rexjeson netted the consolation goal for Keningau in the earlier match which they lost 1-2.

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