KOTA KINABALU: The upcoming M-League 2008/09 season will see 12 men in black from Sabah on duty.
These referees have qualified to officiate matches in the Super League, Premier League, President’s Cup, Academy League or the FAM Cup League.
The Sabah FA referees’ officer Junaidi Ahmad Fauzi said these refs are currently attending a two-day seminar ahead of the M-League which kicks off this Saturday with a Charity Shield match between Kedah and Selangor.
“Out of the 12, five of them are qualified to referee matches in the Super League or the Premier League, while the rest are eligible for the President’s Cup and lower,” Junaidi told the New Sabah Times Sport yesterday.
He went on to say that two of these referees – Sari Tani of Beaufort and Labuan-based Sittharajanan Subramaniam – are Grade A1 refs while another two – Abdul Kahar Abdullah and Ahmad Sumatra, both from Kota Kinabalu – are Grade A2 while another one Abdul Harun Osman, also from Kota Kinabalu, is Grade A3.
Junaidi pointed out that Grade A1 to A3 referees are those that can referee matches in the Super League or the Premier League, while the remaining seven hold Grade B certificates and are qualified to referee matches in the President’s Cup, FAM Cup or the Academy League.
The seven are Ribut Sarman, Luther Gambar, both from Kota Kinabalu, Janasip Tamingan (Kota Marudu), Mohd Samri Mohd Ali (Tawau), Chok Vee Khiong (Lahad Datu), Hussin Sapak (Semporna) and Suleiman Sahidal from Beluran.
“There were supposed to be 13, but one failed to make the cut,” Junaidi said.
Junaidi hopes these referees would carry out their duties successfully.
“I hope they will do the best they can and make decisions based on the book.
“I also hope that they will do their job with full commitment and dedication for the sake of the game.
“They must also remember that the good name of the State is at stake and I hope they will do their job to the best of their abilities and without any favouritism.”
For the record, the Super League kicks off this Saturday, followed by the President’ Cup on January 8, while the Premier League on January 9.
The Academy League is expected to kick off in February.