KOTA KINABALU: Zuraindey Jumai could not resist the temptation of receiving a lucrative offer as he deserted his very own State team and opted to sign for Perlis instead.
Despite knowing very well that this is the time that the Rhinos need him the most after the exodus of several players at the end of last season, the midfielder tends to forget what the team has done for him in the past.
Leaving without the knowledge of his employer – the Sabah FA – makes things worse and it could even haunt him in the future.
He could have left a letter or made a simple telephone call because no team would like to be treated in such an unprofessional way.
A fuming team manager, Rahman Zakaria, when contacted said that he was very disappointed with the player.
“The least he could do was to let us know, but unfortunately he was not gentleman enough to do the right thing.
“We never wanted to let him go. It was his choice,” Rahman said.
“He could have been more patient and waited for our decision. I have spoken to him and told him that we were willing to listen to him, but instead he went AWOL for several days.
“The next thing we knew was that he had already signed for Perlis, and I’m very disappointed.
“Nevertheless, this is not going to demoralise the team as I firmly believe that we do have enough quality in the team.
“The only problem is that if he stayed it could have given us more options,” Rahman added.
“But since he has no heart to play for Sabah, I think it is better for him to go because there is no point of stopping someone who has no pride to play for the State of Sabah.
“Furthermore, one of the reasons we decided to go for local talent is because we want to create the Sabahan spirit in the team.
“We know this cannot be done over night, but slowly I’m pretty sure, we will achieve it. And we need players who are willing to fight for the team, and not play just because of the money,” Rahman said.
Meanwhile, Zuraindey when contacted admitted that it was his choice to leave the team.
He also admitted speaking to Rahman regarding his problem.
“He asked me to wait until the team management holds a meeting, but unfortunately I could not wait because I was also given a deadline by the other party (Perlis). At the end, I decided to make a move,” he said.
For the new season, Sabah has named a 25-member squad with almost half of the squad being new faces comprising ex-players as well as new talents.
With the exception of Mohd Fariss Mat Isa, who hails from Kedah and played for Kuala Muda Naza last season, the rest of the squad are local talents.
Among the 13 players retained from last season’s squad are Irwan Jamil, Harold John, Mohd Salawi Jasad, Henry Parsi, Hardy Charles Parsi, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Zainizam Marjan, Zulamri Muhammad, Rosdin Wasli and Mohd Farid Saibun, Eddie Gapil and Salvester Sindeh.
The 11 ex-Rhinos and new faces being roped for the new season are Mafry Balang, Mohd June Azrah Lala, Gasili Pangalot, Clarrey Tabad, Billyton @ Vun Ket Ming, Zaykiel Leong, Rezuan Aman Khan, Alto Jinus, Hamidin Amat and Awang Norizan Ensim, while Selyvister Saini is being promoted from the Reserve League.
And Zuraindey is the latest player to have left the team following the footsteps of Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, Munir Amran, Hishamuddin Othman, Mohd Nafuzi Zain, Bobby Gonzalez, Wong Sai Kong and Chow Chee Wing.