KOTA KINABALU: To be brutally exact, the season is all over for the impotent Rhinos!
Sadly to note that they will be making a record fifth consecutive season in the Premier League next year, unless the FA of Malaysia has new plans of making changes to the current format of the M-League.
And the most disappointing part is that the Premier League has not even reached its halfway mark, but the Rhinos, who not too long ago were a force to be reckoned with in the country’s football scene, have realistically given away hopes of claiming one of the two automatic spots for Super League promotion.
This is following their 3-0 defeat to Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The defeat, their fifth this season, has virtually killed whatever hopes they may have in their quest for promotion.
At the moment, their confidence is at its lowest and the way they played against Kuala Lumpur indicates there really ought to be no hope from a side that seem to have an unrealistic, unaggressive attitude, at least for the way they played against Kuala Lumpur, who seemed to have earned an easy three points on the road.
They just don’t know how to fight despite the fact that they are fully aware they are not in a familiar position of languishing among the bottom four in the 13-team Premier League standings.
It was just fortunate for the team from the Land Below the Wind that the teams below them – Armed Forces, Sarawak and SDM Kepala Batas are just as impotent.
The Rhinos, who are under the watchful eyes of Iraqi Wathiq Naji Jassim, had a winning start to their campaign by defeating Premier League new boys SDM Kepala Batas.
But the victory proved to be a one wonder thing as despite winning their second game against MBJB FC, that was eventually taken away, after the club side were thrown out from the league for their failure to pay an insurance premium amounting to slightly more than RM70, 000, the Rhinos failed to live up to expectations.
They merely managed to record four draws and five defeats in their last nine outings and thus sees them languishing among the bottom four of the standings.
They are ahead by a mere two points from 11th placed Armed Forces, who they will play against on Monday in an away battle.
Arch-rivals Sarawak are in 12th with four points while SDM tail the standings on two points.
Based on that, only a miracle can help save their season.
Johor and Young Tigers top the standings on 28 points, but the southern State team are on top on a better goal average.
After the ATM match, Sabah will face the Young Tigers (Malaysia Under-19 squad) away on May 15 to round up their first round fixtures.
Sabah will face the same opponents on May 18 here when the second round resumes.
Meanwhile, Sabah had themselves to blame for the defeat to Kuala Lumpur, who scored three goals.
Abdul Hadi Yahya put the visitors in front in the 24th minute before increasing the lead in the 43rrd minute.
Md Shazmin Firdaus added more misery to Sabah by scoring the third in the 67th minute.
Other results saw Johor and Young Tigers winning 5-0 and 3-0 over SDM and Sarawak respectively.
Melaka registered their third win with 3-1 thrashing of Shahzan Muda Pahang, PKNS Selangor won 1-0 against Proton FC and ATM stunned Felda United KL 1-0.