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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Test of mettle for Tambadau

New Sabah Times


 KOTA KINABALU: Tambadau left for Peninsular Malaysia yesterday to play three warm-up matches against two Super League sides as they bid to stay competitive during the ongoing break. The state squad are scheduled to take on Melaka twice before playing against Selangor PKNS. Head coach Jelius Ating has named a squad of 24 players for the doubleheader against Melaka and Selangor PKNS.

Surprisingly, Luiz Carlos Junior has been omitted from the trip. Team manager Henry Saimpon when contacted confirmed that Junior is not travelling with the team, adding that the Brazilian striker is undergoing rehabilitation on his troubled muscle on his right thigh. “We have decided not to take the risk of bringing him. It is better he stays and undergoes rehabilitation,” said Henry. During the six-day-long trip, Tambadau will take on Melaka United today and tomorrow (March 20 and 21). Both matches will be played at the Hang Jebat Stadium.

 After the Melaka date, they would play Selangor PKNS on Saturday (March 23), at the MBPJ Stadium. All matches will kick off at 8.30pm. “We will try to give all the 24 players some minutes in the matches as we want to get the best combination among the players,” said Henry, adding that Jelius is expected to parade his best squad for the first game tonight. “In the second game, we will likely give our reserves or second team the opportunity to see action,” he added. “We believe these three matches will give the team a real test.

Apart from trying to get the best combination from the players we have, this trip will also help the team to keep up with their momentum. “We need these matches because of the ongoing three-week break to the M-League,” he said. Henry said playing against Super League sides is important in order for them to know where they stand when pitted against the country’s top-tier teams. “Apart from that, it is also an opportunity for us to prepare ourselves as there are possibilities that we might face an opponent from the Super League side should we do well in the FA Cup competition,” he said.

 For the record, Tambadau are currently second in the 11-team Premier League standings on 11 points from six games where they recorded three wins, two draws and one defeat. They will resume their challenge in a home match against Penang on March 30. After the home tie, they will switch their focus to the FA Cup competition by taking on amateur side Kelantan United FC in a second-round encounter at the Sultan Muhammad Stadium IV in Kota Bharu on April 3. Meanwhile, Selangor PKNS are fourth in the 12-team Super League.

They collected 11 points from three wins, two draws and one defeat while Melaka United are fifth on 10 points from three wins, one draw and two defeats.

 The travelling squad are as follows Rozaimie Rohim, Robson Rendy Rining, Mafry Balang, Rawilson Batuil, Dendy Lowa, Muhammad Mohd Safar, Mohd Azizan Nordin, Alto Linus, Melky Balang, Jenius Karib, Randy Baruh Samson, Justin Samaan, Mohd Azwan Abd Fattah, Ricco Nigel Milus, Maxsius Musa, Elias Sulaiman, Sabri Sahar, Rahman Shah Marajeh, Stanley Sulong, Mazlan Yahya, Ranilson Batuil, Park Tae Su, Rodoljub Paunovic and Luka Milunovic.
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