KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s Premier League 2010 challenge has turned from what could have been a promising season into what is likely to be another disappointing campaign.
Not too long ago, they were genuine title contenders, but failing to deliver when it mattered most has cost them not only the Premier League crown, but their hopes for Super League promotion are also in tatters.
They have themselves to blame for the sudden twist, with the shock defeat to Penang USM FC last week proving to be the fatal blow in their bid for promotion.
But it was not in that match that things started to fade away.
In fact when we recall, it began in the away tie against Johor MP Muar where Sabah slipped two valuable points after being held to a one-all draw by their lowly opponents, who are now in the relegation dog fight.
Picking up a mere one point from the maximum six against the sides from the bottom half of the table did the damage to Sabah’s quest for glory.
While there is no point of crying over spilt milk, but one could not deny that the two games have cost Sabah the title or plus possibly the one against Sarawak away.
If one could recall, it was a game that Sabah could have won with ease, but their blunt finishing including squandering at least two sure-goal opportunities saw them being beaten 2-0 instead.
Winning those three matches could have seen Sabah lifting the Premier League crown on Friday as it would have put them on 54 points.
Picking up full points against MP Muar and USM FC could have also put them in pole position as the league enters its final fixtures this coming Friday.
Unfortunately or rather sadly it did not happen, as if it did, it could have been a great night for Sabah, as on Friday, they registered their biggest home win of the season in a 10-goal thriller after hammering FAM Cup bound Melaka 8-2 with striker Mohd Farid Ideris netting four times for his side, including two from the spot.
Mohd Farid Saibun, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Zainizam Marjan and Razlan Oto also put their names on the score sheet on the night.
But there is still some hope left for Sabah to finish their season commendably albeit a slim one!
Winning their last match of the season away to KL Pos Malaysia next Friday could help them clinch the final spot for Super League promotion.
But they need a big, big favour from Harimau Muda for that to happen.
So now we must start keeping our fingers crossed and pray that the national Under-19 side can steal points away from SelangorPKNS, who are now in the driver’s seat to claim the last slot for promotion, in their final fixture.
Meanwhile, KL Felda United FC sealed their Premier League title on Friday with a match to spare.
They edged Harimau Muda 1-0. The victory put them on 49 points – four ahead of Selangor PKNS and Sabah, who are both on 45, but separated by goal difference.