Source : New SabahTimes
SUPER SUB … second half substitute Salvester Sindeh celebrates after scoring the first goal for the Rhinos.
KOTA KINABALU: The fight for the two promotion slots will go down to the wire. That’s what the Rhinos’ team manager Rahman Zakaria believes.
“Everything is likely to be decided on the final League match in July,” he said.
“The current top five or six teams are still pretty much in the race for promotion to the Super League next season. And teams that show consistency will likely go through.
“Undoubtedly Police and UPB-MyTEAM have the edge, but with seven or eight matches left to play, anything can happen. So now it is important for us to keep our winning momentum going.
“The League is coming in thick and fast, and there is little room for error. From now on we have to show some consistency if we want to finish among the top two teams at the end of the season,” Rahman said.
“The fixtures are pretty tight, and we have to be ready and be prepared at all times. It is not a good excuse for us to have a ‘yo-yo’ performance. What we need now is consistency. If we can do that, I am sure we will be there when the League is over,” Rahman added.
But Rahman is delighted to note that the team has shown some consistency in the League.
For the record, the victory over Kuala Lumpur saw Sabah extend their unbeaten run to nine matches. Their last defeat (in the League) was the 1-0 loss to Armed Forces at home in January.
The win also helped them surge closer to a promotion slot.
The three points gained from the tie at the Likas Stadium on Tuesday has helped them close the gap with the top two teams – from 10 points at the start of the second round to a mere five points.
Police took over the top spot from previous leaders UPB-MyTEAM after snatching a 3-1 victory over Shahzan Muda.
They occupy the top spot with 25 points followed by UPB-MyTEAM on 24 while Sabah stay in third with 20 points followed by PKNS also on 20 points, but Sabah has a better goal average to stay ahead of them.
On the Rhinos’ performance against Kuala Lumpur, Rahman said that he was satisfied with the team’s overall performance.
“I am happy not only with the result, but also how we played the game. The players showed tremendous fighting spirit, commitment and dedication.
In fact Rahman said the victory is just the right tonic for the team ahead of the crucial clash against Kedah at the Likas Stadium on Saturday.
“When you look at the standings (Malaysia Cup), all matches will be a do-or-die affair. And it’s not only us, but for Kedah as well as Perak and Police too.
None of these teams, including us, can afford any defeat, as it can slash the chances of claiming the two automatic slots to the quarter-finals.
“So we need to rebound following our loss to Sarawak. I believe the players are ready to put our challenge back on the right track (in the Malaysia Cup),” said Rahman.
Sabah is also in the hunt for the FA Cup crown as they are now among the quarter-finalists with Perlis to beat in order to make it into the last four.
In the match against Kuala Lumpur, second half substitute Salvester Sindeh drew first blood for the Rhinos before Charles Obi scored the second in the 77th minute.