Stay clear of drop zone

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KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos have been urged to distant themselves from the drop zone by clinching victory when they take on Felda United on the road tonight.

Rahman Zakaria said this is their best chance to move out of trouble in their fight for Premier League survival.

The Rhinos’ team manager said a win would help distant themselves from their rivals – Armed Forces and Sarawak.

Tenth placed Sabah are currently one point ahead of 11th placed Armed Forces while Sarawak, who occupy the second last spot for relegation are three points behind Sabah.

And with Armed Forces facing fifth placed Proton FC and Sarawak taking on second placed T-Team, this is an opportunity for Sabah to extend their lead over their rivals and eventually edge themselves closer to ninth placed Melaka, who Sabah face after the Felda United date. Melaka are four points ahead of Sabah.

“I hope the players realise how important this clash against Felda United is to us. Winning against Felda United will surely give us some breathing space. It will also help instill confidence in the team and I really hope they will be able to put up a better show than against Shahzan Muda on Friday.

Last Friday, Sabah notched their first win after 450 minutes of action by defeating Shahzan Muda 1-0 at the Likas Stadium.

“I hope the victory over Shahzan Muda will be a start to better things for the team,” said Rahman.

Rahman also hinted that head coach Wathiq Naji Jasim is likely to stick to the winning squad.

“If there are changes it will be a minor one because of injury or suspension. But I think there is unlikely to be any apart from Gasili Pangalot who is likely to return to first team action.

Gasili did not feature for the squad against Shahzan Muda due to suspension, and will be eligible for options for the Felda United trip after serving his one-match ban for three yellow card offences.

Keeper Harold John is likely to be retained ahead of Irwan Jamil while at the backline, Gasili, could come in for Hardy Charles Parsi while Wong Sai Kong will remain at right back and Mafry Balang on the left. Rosdin will be at the centre of the backline together with Gasili.

Joey Ryan Gundok will be the man at the heart of the midfield while Julamri Muhammad, Billyton Vun Ket Ming, and Selyvister Saini will also be there to shoulder the responsibility with Joey.

Zainizam Marjan and Zaykiel Leong will be the men spearheading the attack.

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