Source : New SabahTimes
28th December, 2007
KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos have been warned not to underestimate Proton FC when they take on the Premier League new boys in their first home match of the season at the Tawau Sports Complex tonight.
Drago Mamic said there is no reason for them to take Proton FC lightly, especially after they made their winning debut over seasoned campaigners Shahzan Muda in the opener.
Furthermore, the Rhinos’ head coach pointed out that there is no room for any slip-ups if they hope to do well this season.
“We shouldn’t take this game lightly just because of past results. Before the job is done, we have to play our game and forget about the past. We have to look at the future, not the past.
“To be a winner we have to be consistent throughout the season,” Drago said, adding that they need to start producing the results right from the start.
Both Sabah and Proton FC will go into the match on a high having won their respective opening games last week.
Sabah thrashed Armed Forces 4-0 in an away battle, while Proton FC defeated Shahzan Muda 3-1 at home.
But Drago said this will be another battle that they must win.
While happy with the victory in the opener, he said it is important for the team to start on the same note at home.
“This will be one of the three games we will be playing in eight days. So it is very important for us to win this one. After this we will play Kuala Lumpur (Dec 31) away, before taking on Johor (Jan 4).
“We have to capitalise on our homeground advantage to get the points, and I hope the players realise how important it is for us not to lose any points in home battles,” he said.
“But I’m confident of the team and we have a big enough squad for these three matches.
“Furthermore, I also want the local players to take the opportunity to prove themselves and that this team will not rely solely on foreign players.
“I want the local players to realise that the presence of the foreign players is to spice up the team, but the base of the team will lie on the local players,” Drago said.
Drago said that as long as the Rhinos play to their true capabilities, he sees no reason why they shouldn’t continue with their winning run.
Meanwhile team manager Rahman Zakaria wants the players – whoever sees action tonight – to give their level best on the battlefield.
He said that the team will be counting on them to produce the desired result.
“We have had a good start to the season and I hope to see us continue with that.
At the same time, Rahman also urged the Tawau fans to come in full force to support the team.
“Our colours will be red so I hope the fans can turn up in red as well to show their support,” Rahman said.
Sabah may have had a good start, but Proton FC are a team that they certainly cannot afford to take lightly.
While there may be new kids on the block, but it is only by name as they have been recruiting several seasoned and former national players in the likes of Zami Mohd Nor, Fareed Shah Hassan, Jamsari Sabian to name a few.
Drago is expected to make one or two changes to the winning squad – a decision based on tactical reasons.