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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Even playing field for Sabah Rhinos hopefuls

By FRANCIS XAVIER

 KOTA KINABALU: Jelius Ating said local hopefuls, who dream of donning Sabah Rhinos colours for the new season, will be given a fair chance to prove their worth. He said that’s the reason they called the players that they have identified to undergo training with the current squad to get them in their best shape before putting them to the test.

 “We want them to train with the team and get familiarised with the environment in the squad and at the same time try improve their fitness. “By doing this, we believe it will give them a better chance of making the team,” the Sabah Rhinos head coach said, before revealing that these hopefuls will be put to the test during their scheduled friendly matches later this year.

 The Sabah Rhinos reported for training after two weeks of break since concluding their 2017 campaign with a 2-1 win over Negeri Sembilan on Oct 27. Jelius said more than 25 players are currently attending training with the team. These players are from the 2017 squad as well as those from the state U-21 and U-19 squads, and a few local players that have been identified earlier on. On the imports, he said only Korean Heo Jaenyeong has reported back for training while his countryman Lee Gil Hoon has been given permission to attend the AFC Licence C coaching course, which is ongoing in Penang.

 Sabah Rhinos two other foreign players Rodoljub Paunovic of Serbia and Zambian Francis Kasonde have left the team at the end of their short-term deal with the Sabah FA. Jelius also revealed that the likes of Rahman Shah Marajeh, Saliun Mastar and Radzi Mohd Hussin are yet to report for training as they are still undergoing rehabilitation after undergoing surgery on their respective injuries.

According to Jelius there will be more players attending training with the team next Monday. “There will be more players attending our training from next Monday. We might also have ex state players, who played for other teams, coming,” Jelius hinted. “I hope a decision can be made on the local players after our friendly matches with an Indonesian team here early next month,” he said. On the local imports, Jelius said that it will be depending on the local talents they have in the team.

 “We will only think about bringing in local imports if there is a need to do so. For now, our main focus is to have a good look at our local players,” he said, adding that there have been quite a number of players from Peninsular Malaysia, who have expressed their interest to don Sabah Rhinos colours.

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