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Muamer set to replace Prince

SALIBASIC MUAMER … could soon be the latest addition to the Sabah Rhinos.

21st June, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: Prince Tochukwu Nnake’s omission from the Sabah Rhinos 20-member squad that left for Terengganu yesterday is yet another strong hint that the Nigerian is on his way out from the team.

Instead, newly-named caretaker coach Johnny Dominicus has included Salibasic Muamer in his side – a clear indication that the Bosnian attacker could soon be the latest addition to the Sabah Rhinos.

So far, the Sabah FA has parted ways with three of its current players, including one of its four foreign players in Marco Tulio Lopes Silva, who was eventually replaced by his countryman Everton Souza Santos.

The midfielder was also part of the travelling squad.

Apart from severing ties with Marco, the FA has also released its first-choice goalkeeper Fazley Abdul Rahim and also defender Muhammad Nazri Ahmad.

The duo were rumoured to have joined Melaka United and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

When contacted yesterday, Johnny, who took over the hot-seat following the removal of previous head coach Vjeran Simunic, who has been appointed as the technical director, four days ago, refused to be drawn into Nnake’s absence in his team for their two scheduled clashes against Terengganu (tonight) and T-Team (on June 23).

Johnny said he would rather leave it to the team management to decide on the situation regarding Nnake.

“What I am sure of is that I can test Muamer Salibasic, who is no stranger to the Malaysian League, in the match tomorrow (today),” he said, referring to Muamer, who played for neighbouring Sarawak for two seasons in 2013 and 2014.

On the two friendly matches, Johnny said it will be a venue for him to build the players’ match fitness as well as to strengthen the squad’s combination and understanding especially with the arrival of new players during the transfer window.

“The team returned to training only recently since playing our last competitive match. I hope the matches will be good warm-up games for the players before the league fixtures resume on July 15 where we are away to JDT II (Johor Darul Takzim II).

“Both games are very important for the players to build their understanding on the pitch especially with the signing of Everton Souza replacing fellow Brazilian midfielder Marco Tulio.

He added that the result would be of secondary importance.

“The team has shown positive progress over the past one week since training resumed and I hope the players can translate the various tactical aspects that I’ve introduced to the team (in the games).

“I’m not looking too much into the result because what’s important is for the players to improve on their performance. Hopefully, those who are named for the trip will make use of it to fight for a starting place in the team. Johnny thanked the Sabah FA management for their trust in him to lead the state senior squad.

“I was an assistant coach to Vjeran Simunic so I know all the players. In fact, most of the players have played under me in the junior squad. I will give my utmost best to bring improvement to the team,” said Johnny, who guided the state to their first ever Sukma gold medal in football in 2012.

The Sabah Rhinos season has not been rosy, which eventually cost Simunic his head coach post. They are currently ninth in the 12-team Premier League and are just four points above the relegation zone.

The 20 players that made the trip are Julamri Muhammad, Alto Linus, Rawilson Batuil, Azzizan Nordin, Jenius Karib, Badrul Affendy, Maxsius Musa, Leopold Alphonso Otong, Rexjeson Pitirus, Radzi Hussin, Dendy Lowa, Rico Nigel Milus, Umareng Bachok, Igor Cerina, Dedi Kusnandar, Salibasic Muamer, Randy Baruh @ Samson, Rendy Robson Rining, Jenius Karib and Everton Souza Santos.

Shafuan Shaari and Azwan Abd Fattah will join the squad on June 23 while the rest namely Aldrian Agus, Mohamad Mohd Satar, Shafie Talib, Flexsius Amil and Azrie Basalie have been left behind.

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