Source : New SabahTimes
27th January, 2008
KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos’ target for promotion to the Super League next season will remain a mere dream unless they overcome their ‘yo-yo’ performances in the ongoing Premier League.
Unless and until they show some consistency they may find their dream fading faster than expected.
There are only four matches left in the first round and the Rhinos are trailing current league leaders Johor Pasir Gudang by 11 points, while second-placed Kuala Muda Naza are 10 points ahead of them.
If the Rhinos still harbour hopes to see top flight action next season, they must finish among the top two in order to gain automatic promotion to the Super League.
Even Rahman Zakaria admitted that they just cannot afford to continue with such inconsistency in their campaign, reminding the players to play their hearts out in their remaining games.
“They have to give the best to the team. They must realise that this is their rice bowl and to do well will not only benefit the team but also themselves,” said Rahman.
The Rhinos’ team manager just could not hide his disappointment after seeing the Rhinos succumb to their third defeat of the season.
“It was very upsetting … (it seemed) everything was not in order. The teams’ performances are like a yo-yo. One day they are very good and playing to the standard of a Super League side but on another day, their form drops to the extent that they seem to be a completely different side.
“I don’t know how to explain this, and I don’t want to blame or point fingers at any of the players. It will be up to them to reflect what went wrong against PKNS … let the players who played in the match think what happened,” Rahman said.
“In future they must focus whenever they take to the field and think of what they could do to lift the team. If not, it is the players who make up the team that will suffer,” he said.
On Friday, the lacklustre Rhinos had only themselves to blame after going down 0-1 to Selangor PKNS in a Premier League match at the Tawau Sports Complex stadium.
PKNS registered the shock victory after striker Mohd Fadhil Hashim netted the winning goal after a well-worked free kick in the 13th minute.
Mohd Fadhil then turned from hero to zero after being sent off for two bookable offences in the 73rd minute but even then the Rhinos could not take full advantage of the situation.
Sabah’s campaign, like in the past few seasons, has been hampered by inconsistency.
They had the best start to the season by winning their first two matches to sit comfortably on top of the 13-team standings.
But when things were starting to go right for them, they just could not deliver the results when it mattered as they were held twice in their next two games.
Things went from bad to worse as they succumbed to two consecutive defeats before bouncing back by edging KL Plus FC last week.
But the defeat to PKNS clearly shows inconsistency is still haunting the team.
The only consolation for the Rhinos following their latest disappointment was that they retained their fifth position in the league on 11 points.
Rahman on behalf of the team also showed his gratitude towards the fans in Tawau for supporting the Rhinos until the final whistle.
Sabah will next face Felda United FC at the Kuala Lumpur Football Stadium on Monday (Jan 28).