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 Sports

Tambadau leave early for Johor on chartered flight

1st October, 2020

By FRANCIS XAVIER

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah squad left for Johor on a chartered flight yesterday for their scheduled Super League match against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) on Oct 2.

The team were forced to leave earlier than usual as they have to take swab tests following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the state.

Team official, Adzhar Mohammad when contacted yesterday, said they had just arrived at the Senai International Airport in Johor Bahru (JB).

At the time of writing, the team were undergoing the swab tests before they were transported to their hotel.

“It is a compulsory procedure … all team members and officials will take the swab test upon our arrival,” Adzhar said.

He added that while it usually takes about three days to know the outcome of the test but in Sabah squad’s case, results will be known between 24-28 hours, which is ahead of their scheduled match against JDT at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in JB this Friday.

Adzhar revealed that it was Johor Crown Prince, Tunku Ismail Ibrahim (TMJ) who saved their day, otherwise things could have been very complicated.

“In fact, we were supposed to travel yesterday (Tuesday) but unfortunately all the flights to JB were fully booked. We could not get any seats for the team.”

“Fortunately, TMJ came to our rescue as he generously agreed to charter an AirAsia flight for the team (one way). For that, we would like to thank him for his concern,” said Adzhar.

For the record, JDT are just one point away from lifting the Super League crown for a record seventh consecutive time while Sabah need the points to stay in the country’s top tier.

JDT are leading the 12-team standings on 23 points while their closest rivals Perak are six points behind.

There are only six points left up for grabs and it is very likely that JDT will be crowned Super League 2020 champions on Friday unless Sabah have other ideas to put JDT’s celebrations on hold at least until the final league fixture on Oct 10.

As for Sabah, they are currently in ninth and a mere two points clear from the relegation zone that is currently occupied by Felda United FC.

Meanwhile, Sabah head coach, Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto has called on his players not to give up easily against JDT. This is in the wake of JDT’s big wins over top teams like Perak (7-0) and Selangor (6-1) in their recent meetings.

The 44-year-old Indonesian urged his team to give their opponents a good fight like what PJ City FC did by holding the six-time champions to a two-all draw.

“First of all, we respect JDT as the defending champions and the strongest team in Malaysia at this present time. However, it doesn’t mean that we are giving up the fight even before the match starts. The score remains 0-0 before the match is played,” Kurniawan was reported as saying by Bernama.

“We need to be disciplined at all times and focus on the tie and try to avoid making mistakes,” he added.

   
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