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Sumardi back with Sabah Rhinos fold

14th December, 2016

By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

KOTA KINABALU: Sumardi Hajalan is making a return to the state fold.

The former national left-back penned a one-year deal with the Sabah FA yesterday.

The 31-year-old Tawau-born lad is returning home after playing his football with Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Perlis the last three seasons.

He last donned Sabah Rhinos colours in 2013. Sumardi is one of the three local players who sealed their deals with the FA yesterday with the other two being goalkeeper Robson Rendy Rining and Saliun Mastar, who has been promoted from the Reserve League team. Midfielder Sabri Sahar, who played for Negeri Sembilan this season, is also expected to make a return into the state team.

It is believed that both parties have agreed to a deal, and it is now a matter of penning the contract.

“It feels good to be back home. I’m happy to be given another opportunity to don state colours. I’ll try my utmost best for the team,” said Sumardi, when contacted.

“I like what I see here now, and things seem to look very positive. Although we have quite a young side, but I believe that we can have a good season if everyone works hard towards achieving our common goal of wanting to do well,” he added.

The trio are the latest to have agreed to don Sabah colours next season.

Earlier on, the FA had also tied up the likes of Rozaimi Rohim, Mohd Sakri Masri, Dendy Lowa, Rawilson Batuil, Mohd Azzizan Nordin, Jenius Karib, Leopold Alfonso Otong, Ummareng Bachok, Ricco Nigel Milus, Maxsius Musa, Mohd Azwan Abd Fattah, Randy Baruh, Rahman Shah Marajeh, Alto Linus and Radzi Mohd Hussin.

They have also signed three foreign players namely Igor Cerina, Johnathan Behe and Masaya Jitozono. French attacking midfield Sofiane Choubani is likely to fill in the last foreign slot.

The latter had his first training with the team yesterday. For the record, for the new season, Sabah Rhinos will be under the watchful eyes of 31-year-old Steve Vilmiaire.

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