Jalil: Take it easy, Sarpong

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Jalil: Take it easy, Sarpong

JOHOR BARU: Coach Jalil Ramli has told Sarawak's tough tackling Ghanaian Emmanuel Sarpong to “take things easy” after the defender picked up his fifth yellow card in as many matches while playing against Johor in a FA Cup return-leg quarter-final match at the Larkin Stadium on Sunday. 

While Sarpong will be available for the two-leg FA Cup semi-finals against Perlis on May 10 and 17, the Ghanaian will sit out Sarawak's Premier I league match against Kelantan at the Sarawak Stadium in Kuching tomorrow. 

Sarawak marched into the FA Cup semi-finals on a 6-2 aggregate after beating Johor 1-0 in the return-leg with an 88th minute goal by Ghanaian Robert Eshun. The Crocs won the first-leg in Kuching 5-2. 

Sarpong will be serving an automatic one-match suspension for collecting three yellow cards. In the FA Cup he was booked in both the quarter-final matches. 

Jalil is in a dilemma and is now contemplating resting Sarpong from the first-leg semi-final in Kangar on May 10. However, he will only decide on the matter after Sarawak's league match against the same team on Saturday, also in Kangar. 

“Sarpong has played five matches for us so far and he has been booked in every match. I don't see him as a dirty player. He is strong and his tackles are clean but, still, he has earned the wrath of the referees,” said Jalil. 

“Like the booking against Johor at the Larkin Stadium ... I don't think Sarpong warranted a yellow card for the tackle. He cleared the ball before the opponent fell after a collision. 

“I feel sorry for him because he has always given his best on the field.” 

“I have told the player to take it easy. We have many more tough matches ahead and need his services.”