FA Cup: Sabah versus Johor FC

Source : New SabahTImes


KOTA KINABALU: Sabah will take on club side Johor FC in the second round of the FA Cup competition.

In the draw that was conducted at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) headquarters in Kelana Jaya yesterday, the Rhinos would be playing away in the knockout competition that has been fixed for March 27.

But despite having to do the job away from home, Rahman Zakaria said that chances of making it through into the next round are as good as Johor FC.

“Well, they may have the home-ground advantage, but we are ready to face any opponents,” the Rhinos’ team manager said.

Meanwhile, the FAM yesterday reminded all teams competing in the local leagues to give the U-21 players the chance to show their talent.

“Some U-21 players are given only 10 to 15 minutes to play for their team in a match before they are substituted by the seniors,” said FAM vice-president Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar after attending the second round of the FA Cup draw involving 16 teams, at Wisma FAM, here yesterday.

Beginning this year, FAM has made it compulsory for each competing team to have at least one U-21 player in the first 11.

“Some teams don’t take this ruling seriously when it was actually made to ensure that soccer development from the grassroots level is not thwarted,” Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said.

He warned that FAM would not hesitate to act against any team which did not adhere to the ruling, including deducting points if the team won.

“Perhaps there had been one or two games that FAM had overlooked, but from now on we would closely monitor each match.”

He said the Malaysian football governing body might also review existing rulings and incorporate new guidelines including allocating the U-21 players at least 45 minutes of play so that they get enough exposure and experience.

FAM general secretary Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad, meanwhile, questioned some quarters which recently raised the issue of training allowance for the Malaysian Olympic squad.

“I cannot understand this as the claims for the allowance were only submitted to us at the end of February and we are processing them now,” he said.

“The Olympic squad had centralised training from Feb 11 to 21 at the FAM field and the claims were made after completing the training, so it’s not even a month yet.”

The allowance issue involving the Malaysian squad who are in the qualifying round for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was exposed by a newspaper recently.

Malaysia will face Asian football giant Japan this Wednesday after losing the first game 3-1 to Syria.

Earlier, Ibrahim and Raja Ahmad Zainuddin had performed the FA Cup draw for the second round which will be on a knock-out basis.


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