Source : New SabahTImes


COUNT ON ME … Obi (left) has netted six goals for the team thus far.


KOTA KINABALU: Rhinos’ coach Drago Mamic is expected to retain his winning side when they begin their Malaysia Cup campaign by taking on Perak at the Likas Stadium tonight.

The Croatian is unlikely to make any changes to the squad that got off to a winning start in the FA Cup challenge by defeating Melaka 2-1 four days ago.

But if there is any reshuffle, it is going to be minimal, as those who saw action in the game, did relatively well.

“It is our hope to start our campaign on a right note, and we will surely go for a win, and nothing else.

“I can see that the same set of players will start the game provided there aren’t any unforeseen circumstances. They tried pretty hard against Melaka, and deserve to be given more chances to play for the team. But if there are any changes to the side, it is going to be minor,” said Rahman Zakaria.

“Although we looked a bit rusty against Melaka, but if we take it from there, and try to minimise committing silly mistakes, I think we will be more formidable.

“We have to play better than against Melaka. Perak are a strong side, and I can say that they are one of the favourites in the group,” the Rhinos’ team manager added.

“I hope our victory against Melaka would instil confidence among the players, and that it would spur them to play better.

“Perak might be a Super League outfit, but we are ready to face them. We are not going to be over confident though, and nor are we going to underestimate them,” Rahman said.

Rahman also called on the fans to give the team full support.

He said: “This is the only competition that we have not won. We have been in three finals, but the Malaysia Cup remains elusive. So this time around, we will try again, and hopefully we will make it.”

“However, the team definitely need the support from the fans. We have been playing quite well in our previous matches or rather since the new season kicked off. Although our results have not been so convincing, but I’m proud to say that the team are getting better and better.

Besides Perak, Group C also comprises Sarawak, Kedah, Pahang and Police, and Sabah need to finish among the top two to make it into the quarterfinals.

Emerging as one of the two best third-placed teams in the three-group competition would also see them make it into the last eight.

Group A comprises Johor Pasir Gudang, Selangor, defending champions Perils, Kuala Lumpur, Melaka Telekom and Johor FC, while Group B is made of Penang, Armed Forces, Terengganu, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan Naza and Melaka.

Sabah made it into the final in 1996, 2002 and 2003.

Tonight Sabah will rely on its newly-found hitman Charles Obi to spearhead the attack together with lanky Polish striker Arkadiusz Jerzy Zarlzynski, who is better known as Eric among his team-mates.

Rosdin Wasli and Chow Chee Wing will be the men in the middle of the park with P. Rages and youngster Zulamri Muhammad on the left and right of midfield respectively.

Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, Prince Eboagwu, Ronny Harun and S. Sunder would form the Rhinos’ rock-solid defence, while G. Jeevanatham would remain as the number one ball-stopper.

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