KOTA KINABALU: Justin Ganai refused to take the credit despite successfully turning Sabah’s fortunes around since taking over the hot seat less than a week ago. Instead the newly appointed head coach tributes the team’s back-to-back victory to his chargers, insisting it was them who fought their hearts out for victory.
While happy with what the team has achieved thus far, but Justin was quick to point out that their fight for survival is not finished yet, and that it will only get tougher.
Justin knows, come Sunday, it will be a big game, not only for him, but for the team, as they will be pitted against the energetic Harimau Muda A side.
This is a tie that could be the real turning point for the team that has been struggling from day one of the league while under the watchful eyes of Gary Phillips, who was removed from his dual role as head coach cum manager last week.
This was the first round match that was initially cancelled by the match official, but Sabah won their protest for a replay.
A victory over Harimau Muda A will see Sabah three points clear of the relegation zone.
Although they are currently sitting a rung above the relegation zone, but they are level on points with Kuala Lumpur on 18 points but separated by goal difference.
Perlis languish at the bottom of the standings on 10 points.
Tenth placed Negeri Sembilan and ninth placed Pahang are only two and one point ahead of Sabah.
“I’m happy, but for me, the credit must go to the players. They fought hard on the field and they deserved to be given a pat on the back for what they have done to the team.
“Although we have made some minor changes since I took over, but I’m happy with the development that we have made as you can see last night (Monday) we managed to create many goalscoring chances.
“Before they found it hard to score, but this time we managed to score and defend rather well. Although if we took all our chances well, it could have been more goals, but I’m not complaining because what matters most is we are scoring goals and winning matches.
“On Sunday, we are facing Harimau Muda A and this is a game that we cannot take lightly just because they are a young side. You see this (Harimau Muda A) is a squad that is being trained to compete and we must play our best.
“I believe that if we put extra effort into it on the field, then we will get the reward.
Justin also thanks the fans for rallying behind the team.
“I hope more will be coming for our future matches, starting this Sunday.
On Monday, Shahrul Azhar Ture netted the opener for Sabah in the 36th minute before Zainizam Marjan made it 2-0 after the break.
In another development, Justin, also hopes his young side will triumph in their away outing to Johor this Thursday.
The State junior side is facing Bandar Penawar Sports School at the Kejora Bandar Penawar Stadium in a President’s Cup Group A tie.
“Although I’m no longer with the team, but I hope the team will do well in Johor. I’m confident they can do it as long as they put effort in the game,” said Justin.
Midfielder Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman, who featured for the seniors by coming in as a second-half substitute in the win against Pahang, will also be travelling with the team.
“He played for only about 30 minutes against Pahang, and I think he will still be good for this trip,” Justin said.