JOHOR BARU: Sarawak are still very much in the hunt for a place in next year's eight-team Super League despite the 2-3 defeat at the hands of Premier II club side Selangor MPPJ in the second-round first-leg playoff match at the MPPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya on Wednesday.
Coach Jalil Ramli is optimistic that his team can overcome the one-goal deficit and achieve a positive result in the return-leg at Kuching's Sarawak Stadium tomorrow.
“Don't write us off. The battle is far from over. We are very much in the running. There is still lot of zeal and zest in the players,” said Jalil, whose confidence has been boosted by the return of striker Sapian Wahid.
Sapian sat out the first-leg with a swollen right ankle.
“Sapian is ready for action in the second-leg. I am counting on him for more bite upfront.”
Sapian scored in both legs in the first round of the playoff against Malacca Telekom. Sarawak won 3-1 and 1-0 over the two legs.
The Malacca-born Sapian, who is back with Sarawak this season after a five-year stint with Terengganu, has struck a good partnership with Ghanaian Robert Eshun.
And MPPJ, coached by former international Dollah Salleh certainly face an arduous task in Kuching where Sarawak have lost only once this season.