KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA will retain 15 and axe four players from this year’s squad and grant two other players their wish to be released from their contract, as they started the ball rolling in their preparation for the new season. However, the names of the players that will be retained or axed are still being withheld until they hold their next team management committee meeting that has been scheduled for Nov 20.
The FA Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil told reporters this yesterday after the FA’s team management meeting that was chaired by its Vice President I Datuk Osman Jamal.
Alijus added that they have also identified nine new players and five foreign players, who they will call for selection trials. Out of the nine, three are currently national players.
Two Sabahans, who played for other teams this season, are also among the nine.
They have also decided to sign on-loan defender Mohd Fariss Azlan Bin Mat Isa on a long term contract.
The fate of Mohd Safuan Ibrahim, who is yet to feature for Sabah in the M-League due to injury and M. Sivakumar, are still uncertain.
He said they have also decided to grant strikers Mohd Farid Ideris and Stanley Bernard Stephen their request to be released from their contract.
Alijus said despite the fact that they have identified some players, the door is still open to local players to make the grade to the State team.
The FA, Alijus said, will hold open selection trials on Nov 8 and 9 at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex field C.
“We will be forming a selection committee panel that will be headed by our head coach Justin Ganai,” said Alijus.
On the identity of the foreign players, Alijus could not elaborate, but merely said that two are from Australia, a striker and midfielder, another two strikers from Zambia and Nigeria and the fifth is an attacking midfielder from Italy.
He said that the State squad will resume training on Nov 14.
Alijus also said that Sabah will be hosting a quadrangular tournament in Tawau on Nov 23-26, which will be used as preparation for the new season.
“We have invited Sarawak, Brunei as well as a club from Kalimantan to take part.”
Alijus said that they have yet to decide on the fate of assistant coach Johnny Dominicus and goalkeeper coach Khairul Azman Mohd.
“It will be deliberated in our next meeting,” he said.
2011 SABAH SQUAD: Azizon Abdul Kadir, Syed Adney Hussin, Mohd Salawi (released in July further study), Mafry Balang, Hariri Mohd Safii, Mohd Reithuddin Ag Emran, Sumardi Hajalan, Zuraindey Jumai, Razlan Oto, Mohd Farid Ideris, Alto Linus, Julamri Muhammad, Gasili Pengalot (axed towards the end of the Super League), K. Thanaraj, Rosdin Wasli, Shahrul Azhar Ture, M. Sivakumar, Mohd Safuan Ibrahim, Zainizam Marjan, Radzi Mohd Hussin, Stanley Bernard Stephen, Leopold Alfonso Otong (registered with the Reserve League), Sabri Sahar (registered with the Reserve League), Mohd Fariss Azlan Mat Isa (on-loan from USM FC).