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Jelius: Every match is crucial

12th March, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Rhinos travel to Petaling Jaya with full of confidence, as they hope to resume their Premier League campaign on a positive note.

They will take on MISC-MIFA in the only Premier League fixture of the night at the Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya Stadium tonight.

The 9pm clash is expected to be shown live on TV1.

Sabah Rhinos head coach Jelius Ating knows it is important for his boys to keep their fine momentum going (in the Premier League) in order for them to keep the pace with runaway leaders Felda United FC, who had opened up a seven-point lead at the top of the 12-team standings.

Jelius’ boys need all the three points to close the gap with the table topper. However, it easy said than done.

The last time they met at the same venue, Sabah Rhinos were stunned 3-1 by the then Premier League new boys (MISC-MIFA).

It was after this defeat that saw Frenchmen duo of Adlane Messelem and Steve Vilmiaire, who was then the team manager and head coach, removed from their respective posts and was eventually replaced by Jelius as head coach and Datuk Juil Nuatim as the new team manager.

However, in their second meeting (last year), Sabah Rhinos managed to avenge their first round defeat, by registering a 2-1 win at the Likas Stadium.

This time around, both sides are still unbeaten.

While Sabah Rhinos recorded two wins, and two draws in their opening four games scoring eight goals and conceding two, on the other hand, MISC-MIFA managed to win one and registered three draws, scoring four goals and conceded three.

But the good thing is, Sabah Rhinos know, they have every reason to go the extra mile. They were just booted out from the FA Cup after losing 1-2 in extra time by Johor Darul Ta’zim in the second round of the knockout competition nine days ago.

And Jelius Ating hopes to get a positive reaction from his players as he wants them to forget their Cup disappointment.

“We must put behind the disappointment and focus on the Premier League. I have called on the players to bounce back from the defeat and try to get a positive result against MISC MIFA.

“The loss was our first of the season but we didn’t let ourselves down performance wise. We have a good start in the league and it is very important to keep the momentum going. Every match is crucial to us and we’ve got to show a lot of determination and resolve to go out and get a result,” Jelius said.

The 47-year-old coach was happy to see that his players work as a unit and that if they continue with the right approach and mentality, they stand a good chance of doing well in the league.

“It may be still early in the season, but the players are working hard as a team and if they keep on improving then we may be in for a shout of finishing among the top this season,” Jelius said, as he hints of sticking to his 3-5-2 formation for the clash.

He revealed that he will bring his best 18 for the match that includes his four foreign signings in Pito Ramos, Francis Kasonde, Lee Gil Hoon and Heo Jaenyeong.

Sabah Rhinos travelling squad are as follows: Mafry Balang, Rawilson Batuil, Dendy Lowa, Kasonde, Lee, Mohd Azzizan Nordin, Pito, Maxsius, Elias Sulaiman, Heo, Jenius Karib, Randy Baruh @ Samson, Leopold Alfonso Otong, Ummareng Bacok, Ricco Nigel Milus, Robson Rendy Rining, Sabri Sahar and Rozaimi Rohim.

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