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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Full squad next week

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

 KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA will unveil the state Premier League 2016 squad next week. Sabah FA Deputy President II Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said they should have a complete squad by January 20. Speaking to reporters when met at the team’s training at the synthetic field in Likas here yesterday, he said the remaining days would be crucial for the players, who are still on trials to make the team. He added that they have more or less identified the players, including foreign players, but need a little more time before offering them contracts.

 “We want to make sure that they are good enough for the team and injury free. That is why we will have the medical test on January 18 because it is very important…there is no point signing a player who has an injury. “By January 20 we should have the full squad,” said Gimbang, before revealing that they would make the official announcement of the state squad, which includes the Premier League, President’s Cup and Under-19 on January 22. So far, he pointed out, they have signed 15 players.

However, he added that some of these players still need to undergo a medical before they can be officially part of the team for the new season. For the record, teams are allowed to register up to 30 players with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for the M-League. But Gimbang said they are unlikely to settle for 25 or 26.

 He also revealed that the state senior side will be involved in a quadrangular tournament in Tawau from January 29 to 31. Three teams have confirmed their participation in the tournament, which will be held in Tawau. The teams are KL Felda United FC, Brunei and Sabah. “Initially, Sarawak had also expressed their intention to take part, but they pulled out.

So we are trying to get a new team to replace them, and we are talking with a few, including Perak,” he said. Meanwhile, Croatian striker Karlo Primorac had finally arrived here on Sunday. He was seen at the team’s training yesterday doing some light warm-up together with the team’s fitness coach. Head coach Vjeran Simunic had previously said that he was looking for another foreign player, a target man, to lead the line for Sabah.

 The six-foot Primorac had previously played for Sime Darby FC where he was the top scorer in the Premier League 2013 campaign before joining PKNS FC the following season. The other three foreign players in the squad are Croatian defender Igor Cerina, Brazilian playmaker Marco Tulio Lopes and Indonesian midfielder Dedi Kusnandar, all of whom have impressed Simunic.

 Three other new players who were seen training with the team yesterday was returning former state footballer Radzi Hussin, local imports Mohd Nazri Ahmad of Kelantan and former Felda United Super League squad goalkeeper Sofuan Tawil and its FAM Cup team shot-stopper Rozaimi Rohim.

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