Source : New SabahTimes

  13th January, 2008

KOTA KINABALU: Rahman Zakaria blamed unprofessional and biased refereeing as the main factors that contributed to the Rhinos’ first defeat of the season.

The Rhinos’ team manager said it was so obvious that the man in black had denied them of at least a point from the game.

Rahman claimed that right after they took the lead, the referee’s decisions were all against them.

“Things improved slightly after Kelantan scored the equaliser.

“We are not looking for excuses, but my conclusion is we did not lose the game … it was the referee who took the game away from us as he played a major role in our defeat.

“His biasness was so glaring that one just cannot afford to keep quiet and allow him to keep repeating such unprofessional refereeing in the future.

“Personally, I don’t think he deserves to officiate any matches in the Premier League any longer in the future,” Rahman fumed after seeing his side go down 2-1 to Kelantan at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Friday.

“He made it just impossible for us to play our game. In short, he killed our rhythm,” Rahman pointed out, adding that they are contemplating on making an official report to the FA of Malaysia.

Sabah took the lead through Bobby Gonzales as earlier as the first minute of the game. The goal was dubbed as the fastest thus far in the Premier League as he slotted home only after 25 seconds of play.

“Such referees do not belong in the League. It only downgrades the League. I’m sure if any team(s) that suffered this kind of biasness would feel the same way we do. I’m not saying that all referees are biased, but in this particular case the match official was (is) unfit to officiate Premier League matches. We have no complaints on the linesmen, as they did their job well.

“I hope the FA of Malaysia will look into this seriously because we know there are some good referees around in the League.

“It is also our humble call for them (FAM) to get rid of the rotten apples for the betterment of the development of football in the country.

Mouhamdau Mustapa scored the equaliser for Kelantan in the 62nd minute before the Senegalese netted the winner five minutes from time.

On the Rhinos’ decline in the competition, Rahman said he was upset and disappointed with the results, but there was not much they could do when they are faced with this kind of refereeing.

Nevertheless, Rahman said they will look into all aspects of the game in reviving the Rhinos’ performances in the competition.

Prior to the defeat Sabah started the new season aggressively by chalking up victories in the opening two games – 4-0 and 4-1 against Armed Forces and Proton FC respectively, before getting two draws – against Kuala Lumpur and Johor Pasir Gudang (both with 1-1 scorelines).

“There is no point to look back because we cannot change the results. So now what is important is for us to look ahead.

“We have an important game on Monday (against Kuala Muda Naza), and it is important for us not to slip any more points any longer,” said Rahman.

The defeat saw the Rhinos drop to fourth in the 13-team standings, five points behind leaders Johor Pasir, who lead the pack with 13 points in their bag.

Kuala Muda Naza occupy the second spot on 12 points, followed by KL Plus FC on 10.

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