The Borneo Post (Sabah)
Rhinos eye win against UiTM on Saturday
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah FC will not settle for anything less than three points when they take on UiTM FC at the Likas Stadium on Saturday.
After being handed a footballing lesson in the 1-4 defeat to leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) on April 6, the Rhinos bounced back to perform admirably in the 1-1 draw against then third placed team Penang last week.
And head coach Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto hoped for a similar performance from the Rhinos tomorrow as they look to improve on their current 10th placing in the 12-team league.
The Indonesian trainer said they had watched video recordings of UiTM FC in action and come up with a suitable game plan to topple the opponents.
He also reminded the players not to take UiTM FC lightly just because of their lowly position in the standings.
“They are certainly not an easy opponents to play against. So, we need to work extra hard and have patience in our game as we try to get the desired result.
“In fact we had analysed UiTM FC performance based on several video recordings and we can expect them to be extra defensive on Saturday.
“It will be up to us to come up with a plan to breach their backline and have sight on goals.
“I believe it is not impossible to gain victory on Saturday if the team is focused in achieving the target,” said Kurniawan during the squad night training session on Wednesday.
Captain Rawilson Batuil, Azizzan Nordin and Mafry Balang who did not travel with the team to Penang were among those who joined in the first team training.
The trio, as well as the Maxsius Musa who is returning from a one-game suspension after he was sent off off against JDT, however must wait if they would be involve on Saturday’s match.
“All the players are allright...not just the three of them (Rawilson, Azizzan and Mafry).
“I want to stress here that no player is guarantee of a place in the first eleven. Like I said previously, those who gave their all and commit 100 per cent in training, they will have the chance to play.
“The players in training today (Wednesday) are fully committed to their task. It is now only a matter how we want the team to play as well as fielding the right players to start the game.
“We are not going to rush things...we have two more days to get the best team combination to execute our game plan against UiTM FC,” said Kurniawan.
Meanwhile, Mafry said the late payment of players’ salary issue that went viral on the social media would not sway the team’s focus on getting a win against UiTM FC.
Sabah FC chief executive officer Khairul Firdaus Akbar had recently refuted the claim that the players were not paid up to three months of salary, although he did admit of a delay in payment but not more than one month.
“All is going on well and we have a capable management. There is no problem that could distract our preparation to face UiTM FC regarding the issue,” he was quoted in a statement issued by Sabah FC yesterday.
After completing eight round of matches, Sabah FC have collected six points from one win, three draws and four losses to occupy 10th placing.
As for UiTM FC, they are still without a win since the start of the season where they have registered only one draw and six defeats.