AMBITIOUS … Drago’s top priority is to guide the Rhinos to promotion.



Source : NewSabahTImes

KOTA KINABALU: Rhinos’ coach Drago Mamic reckons Sabah is pretty much in the race to fight for promotion in the ongoing Premier League challenge.

He said it is still early in the season and that the race is still wide open to any of the teams.

“We are only trailing by four points (from the leaders), and if we win on Friday, we might go second in the standings,” he said referring to Sabah’s upcoming match against Kelantan at the Likas Stadium on Friday.

“What is important now is we keep on improving and to try to be consistent,” said Drago.

The Croatian is also happy with the development of the team thus far despite registering one win, one draw and two defeats after four games to eventually saw them occupying the eighth placing in the 11-team standings.

“I can see progress in the team. And I think we have progressed tremendously. If you look at our last four games, we have been dominating them and creating enough chances, but we were just unfortunate not to win them (all).

At the same time, Drago also blamed the men in black who have denied them of picking up more points.

“We could have won one of those games we have lost, but it was the referee who decides the game,” said Drago.

But having said that, Drago admitted that he still do needs a bit more quality in the side. For instance, the first match against Selangor PKNS in which they could have won with more quality in the team.

“If I have a player like Dumisa Ngobe (Sabah did not sign him due to some technical problems) in the game, I think we could have won 5-0. But instead we merely managed to settle for a draw (two-all). We need a player of his quality,” said Drago.

Against PKNS, Sabah were leading 2-0, but allowed PKNS to make a comeback, when they scored the equaliser deep into injury time.

“In the second game, we were marvellous before the interval but we could not find the net.

We created 100 per cent scoring chances, and again didn’t have enough quality up front.

“In the third game, it was the same story. We dominated but couldn’t score and we were punished because we committed mistakes at the backline.

“As for the fourth game, we were trailing 1-0 after 20 minutes, but we changed a bit, we changed our mind set, and managed to score two goals.

Drago also wants the team to minimise on making silly mistakes.

“Mistakes do happen in football, but unfortunately we are making the same kind of mistake not one but all the time. This shows that we need more quality in certain positions,” he stressed.

Nevertheless, Drago is happy with the overall development of the team, saying that they do know how to play according to plan.

“You don’t achieve success overnight. We have to work hard for it. And I’m working on a long term basis in building the team,” said Drago.

He added that once he solved the loopholes the squad will be better off either away or at home.

Drago’s top priority is to help the Rhinos gain promotion to the Super League next season. And that’s where they belong.


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