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Saturday, September 29, 2007


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA’s six affiliate members better not go for the wrong man when they decide on the next man to replace the outgoing President Datuk Anifah Aman.

It may be easy to pick a name, but one must remember the burden lies ahead for the man in question as it is not as simple as many would think. Commitment and dedication alone is not enough as nowadays money plays a big role in the success of every team, especially when we are talking about Malaysian football where we certainly lack the financial resources to run any decent development programme. To run the senior team alone or the Reserve League is already too much a burden for most teams in the Malaysian League. Neighbouring Sarawak for instance paid a heavy price for choosing the wrong man in taking the helm.

It has been a black year for Sarawak football this season following the resignation of past President Datuk Taha Arrifin, where his successor a prominent businessman failed to raise the much-needed funds for the team.

Sadly to note that Sarawak’s season has been affected by the Sarawak FA’s failure to pay the salaries of its players. For the record, the said prominent businessman has been replaced by a new man in Khaider Zaidell. Soon, Sabah FA will also be having a new president as Anifah will have to relinquish his post after the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi issued a directive barring ministers and their deputies from holding any posts in sports bodies.

So the six Sabah FA affiliate members namely West Coast Zone, Interior Upper, Interior Lower, Tawau, Sandakan, and West Coast North, will have to make a good choice or we could be the next State to be in the limelight for the wrong reasons. A former vice president of the Sabah FA, who declined to be named, admitted it is not easy to find a man to replace Anifah, especially after what he has done for the past 10 years or so.

“For what he has done, it is a very hard act to follow, and I’m wondering who will be the man in question to succeed him. I really hope he will have the same calibre or more than the current president,” he said.

“If you are talking about just managing the FA, it is quite an easy job, which I would say many of us are capable of doing. But to look for the funding is the main obstacle because to run the FA we are not talking about one or two hundred thousand ringgit, but we are looking at millions of ringgit. “For Sabah’s case, like Sarawak, our expenditure is going to be more than those teams from the Peninsula Malaysia because of the travelling costs. “Perak have publicly revealed that they were running on a budget of over four million ringgit in the just concluded season. “And when you look at that figure, it is still low compared to Sabah or Sarawak. Although I don’t know how much the Sabah FA’s budget was for the just concluded season, but I can roughly figure it out as between five to six million ringgit.

“I have been there, and I know how things work and it is definitely not an easy task. “Furthermore, one must realise that we are not getting any thing back for what we have given to the FA because we are only doing it on a voluntarily basis. “My suggestion is that they must look for someone like Anifah, who not only can look for the funds, but who is also passionate about the game. “I would also like to suggest that they should try to persuade Anifah to play a role in the FA even in the capacity as the patron because he is certainly one of our biggest assets as far as football in Sabah is concerned.

When asked to comment on a report on suggesting former deputy president Osman Jamal to take over the helm, he said: “I doubt it.” “I’m not underestimating him, but like I just said, this is not an easy job. And may I ask … can a top civil servant raise over five million ringgit year in and year out. If it is a one-off thing, I think many of us can do it, but not when it is a yearly thing. For the record, Osman is the director of Land and Surveys Department Sabah. He also hinted that the Sabah FA is going to sign big names to strengthen the squad for the new season. “I was speaking to one of the top level officials (Sabah FA) recently, and I was told that they are in talks with a former AC Milan midfielder – a Brazilian. “However, everything is being kept on a low profile until it is a done case. And if this deal materialises the new man will be cracking his head to look for the funds.

“I believe that everything will be finalised in one or two week’s time.” For the record, the FA will be holding its annual general meeting cum election for new office bearers next month.

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