Rhinos yet to click as a team


  • Other Sport
  • Thursday, 01 May 2003

BY LOGANATH VELLOO

ALOR STAR: Sabah finally ended their winless away jinx with a 2-0 victory over Kedah on Tuesday but coach Justin Ganai insists that he has not found the ideal formation for his team yet. 

Clinical finishing by Liberian hitman Josiah Seton and midfielder Shahril Arsat condemned Kedah to their first home defeat of the year but Justin believes that the Rhinos are capable of doing better. 

He said he was still tinkering with various formations and tactics.  

SEPARATE WAYS: Negri Sembilan's Shafik Norizan (left) and Sabah's Nor Azmil Ahmad fight for the ball during their Malaysian Champions Schools Under-15 match Wednesday. Negri won 2-1.

“As seen in Alor Star, we have a good squad with plenty of experience. But the problem is: we have not been performing to our true capabilities yet,” said Justin. 

“There is a marked improvement in the team's present form compared to the way we started the season.  

“However, there is still much work to be done and I am still searching for the perfect combination in the team.”  

Sixth placed Sabah missed out on the mid season cash prizes for the top five teams in Premier I by a single goal to the fifth placed Pahang. 

The Rhinos completed the first round fixtures with 19 points from five wins, four draws and three defeats, with just seven out of a possible 21 points coming from the away matches. 

However, Justin is not perturbed by their inconsistencies away from the Likas Stadium. 

“Even in the away games which we lost, we were not outplayed. The players still created enough chances but the lack of sharpness in front of goal cost us dearly. 

“Sabah were unlucky to be held to draws four times away and would have been among the frontrunners in the league if we had converted at least two of the draws into victories,” added the coach. 

But after witnessing his players hold off Kedah's charge with ease for their first away win, Justin believes the Rhinos' fortunes have finally changed for the better.  

“The players have learnt not to be so wasteful in front of goal and Sabah should pose a bigger threat in the second round as we are slowly progressing up the table.” 

“Our main striker Josiah Seton is also returning to his usual best after finding his scoring touch. He proved that against Kedah by scoring a goal from a half chance.” 

While most of the other Premier I sides take a three-week break, it will be business as usual for the East Malaysian side as they prepare for the two-legged FA Cup semi-final meeting against Premier II outfit Negri Sembilan next weekend. 

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