KANGAR: Sabah football team coach Burhan Ajui conceded that his side lacks experience but promised they will show heart when taking on hosts Perlis at the Malaysia Games (Sukma) opener at the UiTM Stadium on Saturday.
Sabah will only have four players from the 2012 gold medal winning squad in Kuantan – midfielders Ummareng Bacok and Maxsius Musa, and goalkeepers Endre S. Taipay and Rendy Rening.
Winger Maxsius will miss the first match against Perlis as he will only be joining the team on Sunday after playing for Sabah’s senior squad in the Premier League against UiTM on Friday.
Burhan said that most of the players are from Sabah’s President’s Cup team and they have a much weaker side compared to the last edition of the Games.
“We have four players from the previous Sukma and four from the Youth Cup team in addition to our President Cuppers,” said the former international.
“We have a very young side but we are high in spirits.
“We will start our campaign against Perlis, who will be backed by the home fans. I expect a tough match but I’m confident my boys will get a result.”
Burhan, who also coached the Rhinos’ President’s Cup team which failed to reach the knock-out stage this season, said that his boys prepared well this year.
“We had a poor season and got knocked out early in the President’s Cup but it gave us more time to prepare for Sukma,” added Burhan.
Group A: Sabah, Pahang, Perlis, Sarawak.
Group B: Perak, Terengganu, Kedah.
Group C: Federal Territory, Selangor, Penang, Malacca.
Group D: Negri Sembilan, Johor, Kelantan.