The Sabah Football Association is in a fix over the alleged involvement of some of its Reserve League players in a housebreaking case which took place over the weekend.
The case rattled the FA especially at this time when it is only 3 days away from making its historical return to the M-League top tier.
Sabah FA Secretary General, Alijus Sipil said the FA would not compromise on taking action against any of its players involved in criminal cases.
“The FA is deeply saddened by this incident. We recently conducted a briefing with the teams (senior and reserve league squads) regarding players’ disciplinie (on and off the pitch) and having to now deal with such a case like this really comes as a huge shock to everyone.”
“Something like this is totally unexpected. We will wait for the outcome of the police investigation before finalising on the appropriate action that would be taken against them” he said.
Alijus told reporters this through a short messaging system (SMS) text Tuesday, in view of the 3 players from the Sabah Reserve League squad who are still being held under remand.
Police on Sunday morning nabbed six players from the State Football Reserve League squad for allegedly breaking into an apartment occupied by international students (UMS) at Likas Square.
It was learnt that the players had climbed over their neighbour’s (female occupants) veranda to gain access to the fourth floor apartment, before making away with some cash, which police later retrieved from inside a food supplement container.
The incident which took place on a Saturday night, in believed to have been induced by alcohol intoxication, and recorded on CCTV, enabling police to swiftly apprehend the culprits.
Police earlier released 3 of the players after determining they were not involved in the case.
Among the three who are still under police custody is a player who trains regularly with the senior squad.
It is believed that one of them had masterminded the whole incident, which some claimed was done purely for the fun of it.
The 3 players are aged 17 (goalkeeper), 18 and 20. All three were considered as role models to some of the players in the Reserve League squad.
The case, if it proceeds in court, would be framed under Section 457 of the Penal Code and punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years and liable to a fine, on conviction.
“The FA will not compromise on players’ involvement in criminal cases such as this. They would be dropped from the squad immediately after we receive police confirmation on the case” said Alijus.
The Reserve League players were temporarily staying in the 2 apartment units at Likas Square as the KK Sports Complex Hostels, where they are officially housed, were occupied at that time.
They have now returned to the hostels.
For the record, the State football senior team will begin its Super League challenge in an away match against Terengganu, this Saturday. It will play its first home match against Kedah on Feb 12.