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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Under-19 squad preparation for Youth Cup league going well

The Borneo Post (Sabah)
By Lester J. Bingkasan

 KOTA KINABALU: Sabah's under-19 squad preparation for the Youth Cup league 2018 is progressing well. Head coach Mohd Aiyyman Johny Abdullah said he has been impressed and encouraged with the determination and positive attitude shown by the players since training started just over a week ago.

 "We are in the process of forming a formidable squad for the upcoming season and we hope to find the 18 main players...it is not an easy task. "This is because the young footballers that we have now are very good. They are very committed (in training) in order to fight for their places in the team. "It is a competition among themselves.

A healthy competition that I believe will not only help them improve as a footballer individually but more importantly it would benefit the team as a whole. "The team is progressing well," said former state senior team defender when contacted here yesterday. Having said that, Aiyyman revealed the team need to play friendly matches to further enhance their preparation for the new season.

 "What the players need are match fitness and sharpness which we hope to get from playing in friendly matches. "The matches will also be important for us (coaches) to find and test the players and to experiment with the tactical aspects of our play," added Aiyyman who is one of the highly rated young coaches in the state.

 The 36-year-old head coach said the squad will be playing against Tuaran CM Cup squad at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex field D in Likas today and a possible second game on January 1 against Kinabatangan. On the team, he said majority of the players are new faces identified from the selection trials conducted with only five from the 2017 squad eligible to play.

 However, Aiyyman, who was a former assistant coach for the national women's football squad and has also coached in the FAM Cup, said he has no problems guiding a new squad to the country's premier under-19 football competition.

 The squad comprise Mohd Shahazareenlie Abdullah Sani, Mohd Fahmi Ikhwan, Azrine Abd Rahim, Syarul Norsyahrizuan Miti, Rahim Razali, Syann Elvin Steven, Abdul Hanafi Tokyo Abd Hasim, Mohd Sabre Fazlee, Andrew Beckham Jamry, Muhd Qayyum Saiman, Farhan Airin, Davis Edson Darius, Fyellonarllye Mcaxora Jappri, Leonardo Lisua, Owen Pidu, Hasrul Ahmad, Mohd Faqrul Idris, Syahrul Nizam Alex, Mohd Aidil Muhimian, Abdul Razik Khan Rishad Khan, Mohd Arizsham Jainul, Mohd Amirul Afiq Ali, Mohd Saiful Abd Rahman, Mohd Iqbal Kassim, Jonathan Josua, Lasiter Latimin, Muhd Faqrurazi Ahmad, Mohd Sharizan Saidin, Xsevier Xcico Felex and Asymawi Sulikin.

 For the record, the state under19 squad did well in the last two campaigns where they made it to the quarter-finals in 2016 and just missed out on the knock-out stage in 2017. For the new season, Azman Mastar has been named as the team manager while Aiyyman will be assisted by Sueli Apin. The Youth Cup league is expected to kick off in the middle of February.

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