Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Sarpong boost for Sarawak, no Juzaili again for PahangBY RIZAL ABDULLAH
JOHOR BARU: Abang Za’afari Abang Othman, Sapian Wahid and Ramles Sari are scoring and the 4-2 win over Malacca last Saturday puts Sarawak in good stead to keep pace with the frontrunners in Premier I when they play against Pahang at the Darulmakmur Stadium in Kuantan tonight.
Sarawak have moved up to fourth place in the 13-team table with 10 points – three points behind leaders Perlis.
The Crocs have begun to show good form and with their forward trio firing on all cylinders, they are confident of getting a good result against Pahang, who have not had a good run at home thus far this season.
Against Malacca, Abang Za’afari and Sapian score two goals each. It was Abang Za’afari’s fourth goal in four matches and the third for Sapian while Ramles has four goals to his credit.
Coach Jalil Ramli has tightened Sarawak’s game.
Ghanaian Emmanuel Sarpong will make his M-League debut for Sarawak tonight. The towering defender has been cleared to play for the team by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) and he arrived in Kuantan yesterday afternoon.
“Our forwards are sharper and Emmanuel will now add more strength to our defence. He has strong physique to give us more stability at the back,” said Jalil from Kuantan.
Sarawak will also take the field with the psychological advantage of having beaten the Elephants 2-1 on the last trip to Kuantan in a Malaysia Cup match.
Pahang coach Ralf Borges Ferreira admitted that they had not done well at home but “it will be a different story against Sarawak”.
In their last outing, Pahang muffed a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Perak in Ipoh.
“We played very well against Perak and this has brought back the confidence. I hope the fans will throw their support for the team,” said Ferreira, who will be without international Juzaili Sameon again tonight because of an ankle injury.
Pahang had a bad game in their last home match, losing 1-3 to Premier II’s Negri Sembilan in a FA Cup second round match and were eliminated 4-2 on aggregate.