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Monday, August 04, 2008

Rahman hails ruling

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah FA (Safa) Supreme Council Member Rahman Zakaria yesterday hailed the FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) “no foreign players” ruling which will start next season.

Rahman described the move as a positive one to develop the local players thus contributing to lifting the image of Malaysian football in the near future.

“Without the foreign players, we should be able to know clearly whether Malaysian football can go far.

“We have to remember that in the 70s and early 80s we were one of the powerhouses in the Asian region and during that time there were no foreign imports.

“Hopefully with the new ruling, the local players will be able to develop and better themselves to raise the standard of Malaysian football,” he said yesterday.

Having said that, Rahman revealed that having foreign imports in the Malaysian League has not helped much, especially in the past few years.

He said there were many below par signings and that the local footballers were better in quality.

“I admit there are some good signings, but most of them unfortunately are not. That is why we cannot fully depend on them (foreign imports) and instead must develop our own players.

“I fully support the “no foreign players” ruling,” added Rahman, who is also the Rhinos’ team manager.

On Sunday, FAM Deputy President Khairy Jamaluddin said there will be no foreign players for all 28 teams in the Super and Premier Leagues starting next season.

Khairy said the ruling was decided upon unanimously by the FAM’s 16 affiliates, making it the second time that it will be implemented since the 2001-2002 season.

Meanwhile, Rahman said Sabah had been unlucky after yet another disappointing campaign in the 2007/2008 Malaysian League.

Sabah failed in their bid to gain promotion to the Super League after finishing fourth in the Premier League.

The Rhinos won 13, drew five and lost six matches to collect 44 point to finish fourth out of 13 teams with Kuala Muda Naza crowned champions on 61 points, followed by KL Plus FC (57 points) and Kelantan (53 points).

In the FA Cup, Sabah bowed out in the quarter-finals after losing to Pahang 1-4 on aggregate.

As for the Malaysia Cup, Sabah, who lost their final fixture 0-1 to Police on Saturday, failed to get past the group stage, finishing fifth in Group B on seven points.

“We wanted to win but we failed … anyway, we will regroup and be ready for the campaign next year,” he said.

The new season will start in January until October but minus foreign imports Andre Scotti, David Njoku and Dragic Dalidor following the new ruling.

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