JOHOR BARU: Premier League’s Sabah did not gain promotion but the Rhinos have had a fantastic run against Super League teams in Cup competitions and are ready to strike again against Perak in Tawau tonight.
Sabah and Perak will be playing for the third time in the competition. And the Rhinos will go into the match with the better record over the Super League runners-up. In Group C, they won 1-0 at home and drew 1-1 away.
Sabah manager Rahman Zakaria said that they had sold out tickets for the match and would be playing in front of 12,000 home fans and Perak could expect to be jolted again.
The Rhinos are playing their home match in Tawau because the power switchboard at the usual home stadium in Likas burnt out recently.
It was in Tawau that Sabah wiped out a one-goal deficit against Negri Sembilan to win the quarter-final second-leg match 3-1 to advance 3-2 on aggregate.
Said Rahman from Kota Kinabalu yesterday: “Perak have a star-studded side but we have no fear of the big names in their team. We have warriors to do battle and they have promised to go the extra mile to beat Perak.”
Sabah are not too concerned that they will be without skipper Rosdin Wasli, who has to serve a one-match ban for two yellow card offences.
“We have able substitutes who can replace him in midfield. We will be okay. Charles Obi is back in form too and scoring again,” said Rahman.
Obi is the team’s top scorer with 25 goals in all competitions. Sabah have also brought in Serbian stopper Dragic Dalibor to tighten their backline while 27-year-old Brazilian striker Felisberto De Oliveira Freire, who is better known as Junior, has added more punch upfront.
Sabah will also welcome the return of Hardy Cherles Parsi from the victorious National Under-23 side in the Merdeka Tournament.