Jan 25, 2013

Yusof: Believe in yourselves!

Yusof and McCreery
KOTA KINABALU: Newly appointed team manager Datuk Yusof Kassim aims to put the happiness back into the State football fraternity.

However, it cannot be done overnight, and he needs time to change the team’s outlook from strugglers to title contenders.

He insisted that they indeed have a squad that can challenge for honours in the M-League 2013.

But for that to happen, the players must have the right mindset, determination, spirit and commitment.

“Give me a chance to find out (problems in the team), and I’ll try to do it fast,” Yusof said, when met at the team’s light training at the Likas Stadium yesterday.

And prior to the training, the players were summoned to a meeting at the FA’s office, which was chaired by Deputy President Datuk Lawrence Gimbang.

“It (the meeting) was aimed to give the players some encouragement, build up their confidence and to find out their problems. We have picked a few points from the meeting and will look into it,” said Yusof, who took over the hotseat from interim team manager Alijus Hj Sipil on Wednesday.

Yusof, Vice President I Datuk Osman Jamal, and Vice President III Dr K.H. Tan were among the FA top officials in attendance at the closed-door meeting.

Sabah had a poor start to their season where they registered two victories and three defeats in the opening five matches.

They won twice at home defeating lowly KL SPA Putrajaya FC (2-1) and NS Betaria (2-0) and lost once (to Kedah 2-0). They also failed to pick up a single point on the road after conceding defeats to KL Sime Darby (3-1) and Kuala Lumpur (3-2).

And today, Yusof, who is no stranger to the State senior squad having held a similar post in the mid 80s, is expecting nothing other than a victory from the team when they take on KL Felda United FC in the first round of the FA Cup, which is a knockout competition.

“Our philosophy will always be the same, and that we play to win,” he said.

“I want to see the players play with more confidence, and they must believe in themselves.”

Meanwhile, head coach David McCreery is set to make changes to his side, as he plots a victory over his Super League opponents.

However, he will have to do it without at least two of his experienced men, namely Zainizam Marjan and Khairul Izwan Khalid due to injury.

Left-back Mohd Hafizulldin is also nursing an injury, and is also out of the game, so as Julamri Muhammad, who is still suffering from a mysterious groin injury.

Flanker Shahrudin Yakup is also doubtful, but is expected to be among the first 18 players for the clash.

McCreery is also expected to include young striker from the Reserve League squad, Rexjeson Pitrus.

McCreery said: “It is good to bring young players and give them a shot at the game. He probably will start from the bench.”

The rest of the players, including his two foreign signings defender Rhys David Weston and striker Koh Traore are available for options.

News and photo source:
New Sabah Times

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