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Sarawak Coach Defends His Foreign Players Against Critics

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KUCHING – Sarawak head coach Robert Alberts defended his four foreign players, saying he was happy and satisfied with their performance in the two Super League matches they had played so far this season.

Sarawak drew 3-3 with Felda United in the opening match and trounced Terengganu 3-1 at the State Stadium last night.

Alberts was responding to a report in a local newspaper which quoted him as saying that his four foreign players were not up to the mark.

“I had never spoken to the reporter who wrote the story,” he said, adding that he had written to the management of the newspaper to complain on the unprofessional act of the reporter.

The Dutchman said his foreign players displayed good teamwork with the local players as proven in the two matches.

In response to adverse remarks against him, Australian striker Ryan Griffiths said it was not a pleasant thing to read (about the criticism), adding that it was a lie and unfair to them and the coach (Alberts).

“But we are all professionals and we are used to this. Sometimes we played a bad game. When we tried and tried but couldn’t score, the supporters should understand this,” said the Sarawak team captain.

Alberts in admitting that the team was not as strong as last year’s, however, said the team spirit and harmony was at the best level.

“We played well in the first 15 minutes and capitalised on the scoring chances for us to score two early goals and it was a very good win in front of our supporters, as we delivered (victory) what they wanted,’ he said after last night’s match.

“We moved and opened up and got two good goals. Crosses were coming and everybody was at the right spot at the right time.

We started well in the first half and we started well again in the second half,” he said.

Alberts noted Terengganu played better and dominated the game in the second half and could have scored as they had some good chances.

Billy Mehmet scored the opening in the third minute and former national striker Ashri Chuchu scored the second goal in the fifth minute. Terengganu reduced the deficit in the 14th minute through Paulo Rangel, but Joseph Kalang Tie made it 3-1 in the 39th minute.

“We took the early chances and that was the main reason we were able to beat Terengganu and another reason was that the team kept fighting and working for each other despite the injuries to two of our players – goalkeeper Mohd Iqbal Suhimi and Mohd Shahrol Saperi,” he said.

Alberts, however, was unhappy with the condition of the field at the State Stadium, saying it was terrible.

He felt that little attention was given to the field by the stadium workers, saying that the condition had nothing to do with the bad weather. – Bernama

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