Two new faces added to squad
Published on: Thursday, May 16, 2019
By: GL Oh

KOTA KINABALU: Head coach Billyton Vun Ket Ming has taken advantage of the current open transfer window to recruit two midfielders to strengthen the State Under-19 squad.

The new faces are Muhd Syahryl Aiman Saidin @ Ayie from Menggatal and Ritchie Svenson Fred Donny  from Kiulu, while Macollin John Justin (Penampang), Daniel Gabriel Francis (Keningau) and Mohd Sharriezan Jefrin (Pitas) are no longer in the 29-member team for the remaining season.

Billyton said the decision was made after seeing the team struggle in the first half of the season with insipid performances and suffered eight losses and only three wins in their last 11 matches.

The team tasted their first victory in their second match at home but then lost their next six matches before two impressive wins followed by another defeat in Group B.

“We wanted to have natural midfielders to strengthen the team. At the moment the players that we have in that position are used to play in the flanks and defence.

“We groomed them to play in the centre of the field because we had no option then. Although they were quite up to the task, their positioning was a bit off at times.

“For example in the last match against Perak, we conceded easy goals because of their failure to collect the second ball due to poor positioning. They do not understand the concept of a midfielder as feeder and also to collect the loose ball,” he said on Wednesday.

He said the impact of Ritchie as a defensive midfielder and Syahryl in attacking position had in the team was obvious in their recent friendly match against DPM team.

“We have tried them against DPM recently and they have shown their potential but it is still too early to say how they will cope in the much tougher Youth Cup competition.

“We need to monitor them closely but with both players still under 17 years old, their participation in the team this season will only do them good next year.”

Meanwhile, the team still carry on with their daily training session in the afternoon but with lighter approach.

“We only do some game conditioning during this fasting month because we try not to push the players too much. This is also to prepare them physically ready for the tougher session after the Hari Raya celebration to avoid any injuries that may incur.

“We have about two weeks to prepare the team before we resume our campaign playing against Selangor away on June 19,” he said. 


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