I must admit to having a little chuckle when I read a letter in a local newspaper Forum section recently . Firstly , let me state that any letter not based on facts and not signed by a name lacks any credibility in my opinion . Secondly , I have no direct association with Sabah FA , I am self employed and hence feel I have the clarity to make unbiased opinions on matters pertaining to Football in Sabah .
The letter titled “Road to Premier League 2012” severely criticized both Coach Gary Phillips and the Sabah FA . I would like to make a few pertinent points as follows ,
- A new committee took over the Sabah FA in 2009 led by our Honourable Chief Minister DatukMusa Aman.
- At that stage Sabah had been playing in the 2nd Division for 6 years . The FA had tried local coaches , foreign coaches , local players & foreign players but all to no avail – every previous coach failed in their target to obtain promotion .
- The first big decision by the new management/committee was to hire a new coach and the fact that they managed to lure Gary Phillips who was Director for Coaches at AFC was considered a coup . For the record , having Coached in Vietnam , Tonga and winning the Australian National Title with Sydney Olympic does make him a well travelled International Coach .
- And guess what , after 6 years stuck in quick sand in the 2nd Division , Gary Phillips and the new management were successful at the first attempt by obtaining promotion to the 1st Division in 2010 – what a great achievement .
- Fast forward to 2011 and the team has lost 3 games in the Super League , not 5 as stated . This is normal in Professional Football , a promoted team finds itself against better opposition thus resulting in inconsistent results . Trust me , with good support from management and the fans thisteam will end up in a comfortable mid table position at years end – which in my mind is highlyacceptable for our first year back in the top flight .
Other positive steps from the new management include ,
- financial consolidation with all players receiving their salary every month on time .
- Presidents Cup team flying high on top of table .
- The best Junior League Development Competition in the whole country .
Having said that , of course further improvements are required . Personally , I would love to see ,
- Improved Training facilities
We cant train on main stadium every day as this will ruin the pitch. Results on game day are all about preparation during the week and until we get improved training facilities it will always be a battle for the coaching staff . Developing either the outside pitch next to Likas Stadium or Penampang Stadium are the obvious two possibilities .
- KK Junior League to be used as a blue print by all the other Sabah FA zones to start their own Junior Leagues .
I truly believe that if we continue with the Junior leagues and grow them throughout the State , then in 5 years time Sabah will be the dominant State in Malaysia . Imagine our production line and the amount of talented kids coming through the system .
Getting back to the critique , I cant help but wonder – was the letter constructive criticism or agenda driven ?
BRAVO PRESIDENTS CUP TEAM
A big pat on the back & well done mate congratulations to Team Manager Juil Nuatim , Coaches Justin Ganai , Burhan Ajui and the young players who are riding the crest of a wave in the Presidents Cup at present .
Great news for Sabah Football that we have quality young players coming through the system . What’s important is that these kids keep their feet on the ground and don’t get carried away by their current success . Lets hope the Manager Juil Nuatim & Coaches instill into the players the importance of always respecting the game and the old cliché “your only as good as your last game” is a truism in Football .
Keep up the good work lads and I look forward to seeing some players from this squad making an impact with the Senior Team in the near future .
A FARCIAL DECISION
Words fail me when trying to summarise the referee’s decision to cancel Saturday night’s Super League match between Sabah & Hari Muda . I was at the stadium and the lines were clearly visible from my vantage point .
Their was surface water on the pitch which was the only conceivable reason for not going ahead with the match . This would have led to the match being abandoned and replayed at a later date .
By canceling the match due to poor line marking , it means that based on a technicality Sabah will lose 3 valuable points and the match cannot be replayed .
Obviously , if the poor line marking decision stands , it will have a massive impact on Sabah’s League Standing and on the overall morale of the squad in general .
No doubt Sabah FA Secretary General , Mr Alijus Sipil will exhaust every avenue off appeal in order for justice to prevail . Make no mistake , this is a massive injustice so lets hope common sense prevails and the match is replayed at a later date .