PETALING JAYA: When the captain speaks, you listen – even more so if he’s an experienced one like Baddrol Bakhtiar.
The 34-year-old Baddrol, who is Sabah’s skipper, has urged his teammates to keep their focus as they brace for two tough fixtures to come.
The Rhinos are hitting the right notes since Datuk Ong Kim Swee took over for the 2022 campaign and are surprisingly riding high at the top rung as the Super League approaches the half-way mark.
Sabah, third in the league after nine matches, take on Negri Sembilan at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium tonight and are hoping to steal a victory.
“A win will boost our confidence as we have to play JDT in the next match (July 15),” said Baddrol, who added that Kim Swee’s guidance has made a big difference to the team.
“We are slowly shaping up to be a team that is united and full of spirit.”
A win will see Sabah overtake Negri for the second spot in the standings.
Sabah have only lost twice in nine matches and have 19 points, one behind Negri.
Sabah came from behind to hold Selangor 1-1 in their last Super League match last Tuesday while Negri defeated Pahang 3-0 on June 25. JDT are the current leaders on 22 points.
“The motivation is for us to beat Negri tomorrow to close the gap on JDT,” added Baddrol.
“We want to fight for three points to maintain our superb run in the Super League although it’s not easy as Negri have a good record (only one defeat in the Super League so far).’’
Baddrol said in Sabah, every player was treated equally no matter how experienced he was.
“In training, Kim Swee stressed on the importance of equality. There is no distinction between seniors or juniors.
“Everybody is expected to work hard to prove his worth.
“We have a lot to learn as we go along but with solid teamwork, I think we can be competitive against any team.”