KUCHING: Apparently, the euphoria surrounding Pandelela Rinong Pamg’s Olympics bronze medal catch is still high here.
State football coach Robert Alberts surprised reporters when he talked about the national diver after a friendly match between Sarawak and the Armed Forces at Stadium Negri on Saturday night.
The Dutchman told his players to look up to Pandelela as an inspiration in their run up campaign of the Malaysia Cup.
“Our football players should look at the great achievements of Pandelela, who has shown that if one is willing to work hard for a goal, he or she can find success of the highest level.
“Most of our players can relate to Pandelela, who comes from a poor background and has worked her way up. Although football is a team sport, Pandelela’s fight for success is very much applicable to all sportsmen.
“We should all congratulate her for her great achievements,” said Alberts.
On the Saturday friendly, Alberts said he was quite satisfied seeing his team overcome Armed Forces 12-0.
According to the coach, the meet was held as a “whipping match” to shape up his boys in their preparations for the Malaysia Cup cruncher against Selangor on Sept 24.
Cameroonian midfielder Guy Bwele got into the scoring act with four goals for Sarawak, while his fellow countryman Joel Epalle and Sabahan on-loan Bobby Gonzales each managed a hatrick.
National player Ashri Chuchu contributed one goal.
On the other side, Armed Forces conceded an own goal.
“The players’ willingness to run off the ball and create scoring chances were pleasing to me, even though they had to go the match during the fasting month,” said Alberts.
He noted that the team’s three Sabahan loan players had performed really well.
“Bobby and Shahruddin Yakub showed good form and ability to find the net while defender Ronny Harun, who played centreback position, got more and more into the match with his good timing and tackles.”
Alberts pointed out that Malaysia Cup was a whole new field from that of the league and it was important for the Crocs to have the right motivation to go for wins.
“If the players can maintain their gameplay like they did tonight, they will be the team to look out for in the Malaysia Cup,” said Alberts.