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‘Depleted Juniors still a threat’

6th August, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Circumstances seemed not to favour the Junior Rhinos in this crucial day as they will head into the first leg of the President’s Cup quarter-finals today at the Likas Stadium against Felda United FC with a depleted squad.

Midfielders Eddey Ladius and Mohd Aidil Safee will both miss the 4.15pm tie due to injury and suspension respectively.

Team manager Mohd Yassin Aman said Eddey is a long-term lay off victim after suffering a heavy knock in their last Group A tie against Johor Darul Ta’zim III last week.

“He is expected to be out for at least a month. It is likely that he and our captain Muhammad Zaki (Sapri) seemed to have played their last game for the team for the season.

“As for Aidil, he picked up his third yellow card against JDT III, which means, serving a one-match automatic suspension, and will only return for the second leg next week.

“Our head coach (Johnny Dominicus) is likely to bring in Adi Ali and Mohd Syukri to replace Eddey and Aidil in the heart of our midfield.

“I think these two players are as good. For Syukri, he has been featuring with our Under-19 side, but injury and suspension to our regular midfielders (Eddey and Aidil) forced us to recall him back from the Under-19, who are playing their quarter-final first leg tie against Kedah later today (yesterday),” said Yassin when contacted yesterday.

“I’m trying to get in touch with Jelius (Ating – Sabah Rhinos head coach) if he could release defender Evan (Wensley Wenceslaus) and Hamran (striker – Peter).

It will be great if we can have them because we certainly need our strongest squad to face Felda United FC, who finished their group (B) campaign in second.

Despite having to play with a depleted squad, Yassin said he remains upbeat on their chances, insisting that he has faith with the remaining players.

“It is a pity that we cannot play with our full squad, nevertheless, we still hope for the best because we know they are capable of doing a good job,” he added.

Yassin said they flanker Stanley Sulong will make a return into the team after missing their last two games.

He is one of the two players from the senior side that are certain to start for the Junior Rhinos with the other being goalkeeper Mohd Sakri Masri following Aidil’s suspension.

But if Jelius is willing to release both Evan and Hamran, who has been a regular with the senior, then the Junior Rhinos will be strengthened by four seniors.

Yassin also called on the local fans to come and support the team.

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