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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Preparations on track

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my
WARM-UP MATCH … a Reserve League player (all red), is being tackled by an unidentified KDMM FC player during their friendly encounter at the Penampang Stadium on Sunday.
 KOTA KINABALU: The state squad’s preparations for the upcoming President’s Cup challenge 2016 are progressing positively. Head coach Justin Ganai said everything seems to be plain sailing for his young charges ahead of the new season, which is expected to kick off on March 3. “Of course there is still room for improvement, but I’m quite pleased with the progress shown by the players. They have started to gel as a team, and I hope things will get better,” said Justin, after seeing his side notch a 4-0 win over FAM Cup new boys KDMM FC in a friendly match at the Penampang Stadium on Sunday. “

There are a few areas that we still need to look into, and we will be using the remaining days to sort that out,” he added, while revealing he has already identified his first-11 players. “I’ve already have an idea who will be in my first eleven but overall the team are still lacking in various aspects of their game. In other words, there is certainly room for improvement.

 “Fitness wise I’m happy with the players because most who were substituted (against KDMM FC) replied positively that they could still go on and play. “It was also good to see that the players translated what they learned in training in their matches. “However, they need to inject urgency into their game because they are still slow in their movement.

 “Overall there is progress but as I said earlier the team could still improve further…we will work harder,” Justin said. Asked on the team’s finishing, which has been their main problem the last few seasons, Justin said the team looked much better in that department this time around. “We have been working on the defensive aspect of our game in training previously and only now we are moving into the attacking set-up.

” For the record, the state juniors finished eighth out of 10 teams in Group B of the 2015 campaign with only three wins and six draws while losing in the remaining nine matches. This time around, there will be 20 teams competing in the Under-21 competition where these teams will be drawn into two groups of 10 teams with the top four teams making it into the quarter-finals.

 The participating teams are Armed Forces, Felda United FC, Johor Darul Ta’zim III, Kedah, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, PDRM, Perak, Perlis, PKNS FC, Penang, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, Terengganu, T-Team and UiTM FC.

 Sabah’s one and only President’s Cup title was achieved in 1999.

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