Sun, 10 Dec 2023



Rhinos eye positive start
Published on: Thursday, September 21, 2023
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Rhinos eye positive start
Ong (second left) with Darren Lok (left), Marko (second right) and Huogang player Zulfahmi Arifin at the press conference on Wednesday.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah FC will not let their guard down in this season’s AFC Cup opener against Singapore side Huogang United FC at Likas Stadium tonight (Thursday) starting at 8pm.

Head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said it is important to get a positive start in their return to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) competition.

Sabah last appeared in the AFC competition at the now defunct Asian Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1995.

“It is good to be back in the AFC competition after a long period and of course we are looking forward to the big game tomorrow.

“I hope we can produce a good performance and get the result that we want,” he said at the pre-match conference held at Likas Stadium on Wednesday.

He also said pressure will not be a factor in the Group H tie and is confident that his players will deliver.

“I don’t believe there is any pressure on the team as most of the players have vast international experience and they know how to handle the expectation, and this is one of the advantages that we have.”

He also played down suggestions that Sabah FC have a great advantage with the home support and playing on grass which their opponents are not used to.

“Every competition is different and we cannot afford to take them lightly even though they are used to playing on synthetic pitch.

“At the same time, the players must know what they should do to ensure we can get a positive result.”

He revealed that Sabah FC’s target is to go far in the competition.

“We have objectives in every game that we play and we will try to progress as far as we possibly can as JDT and Kuala Lumpur have achieved in the past.

“However, we will only focus on one game at a time and this is to ensure that we do not think too far ahead as we have other competitions apart from AFC.”

He also called on the fans to come and support the team in the stadium.

“The presence of supporters at tomorrow’s match is important to provide motivation for the players from start to finish.

“I hope they can turn up in numbers. I know it is not a weekend but I believe many will come and give their support to the team.”

Meanwhile, Huogang United coach Marko Kraljevic said Sabah FC are a strong team and his players  will try their very best to get a good result.

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