Wednesday, December 6

Sabah not taking Hougang United lightly


Kim Swee (second left) and Kraljec (second right) at the press conference. Also seen are Sabah FC player Darren Lok (left) and Hougang United FC player Zulfahmi Arifin.

KOTA KINABALU (Sept 20): Sabah FC will not take Singapore-based Hougang United FC lightly when they face each other in the AFC Cup at Likas Stadium here on Thursday night.

Sabah FC head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said there is no pressure for the first match of the AFC Cup as most of the players have extensive experience including playing at international level.

“We have good players and we also play at home with our own supporters. That is our advantage but we cannot take this match for granted.

“I still have less than 24 hours to choose the players and we hope all the players are ready to give their best in the match,” he told reporters during the pre-match press conference for the AFC Cup at Likas Stadium on Wednesday.

When asked about the target in the AFC Cup competition, Kim Swee said Sabah FC had not set any target, but would focus on one match at a time.

“Of course we want to qualify as far as possible like Kuala Lumpur FC and JDT FC have done … therefore we must give full focus to every match,” he said.

Hougang United FC head coach Marko Kraljec said playing in front of thousands of fans at Likas Stadium will be one of the challenges for his team when they meet Sabah FC.

“We are fully prepared even though the advantage may still be in favor of the home team … Sabah FC clearly have a good and experienced lineup of players.

“We have made good preparations including planning and tactics for tomorrow’s match.

“We are also ready to face the atmosphere of the stadium and I promise tomorrow will be the best match for both teams,” said Kraljec, adding that they have been following many matches involving Sabah FC and it is clear that they have a very good team.

Sabah FC will kick off the AFC Cup by playing with Hougang United FC in Group H at 8pm at the Likas Stadium.

Sabah’s last outing at the Asian football scene was in the now abolished Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1995, where Kim Swee was a member of the state squad.