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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Musa wants silverware

New Sabah Times
SPONSORSHIP … Mandy (second, right) presenting the sponsorship to Musa watched by Gimbang (left), Justin (right), and others.
KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman is itching for football glory.
He did not hide his intention of wanting to see the State squad end their M-League 2012 campaign with at least one title.

Musa, who is also the Sabah FA Supremo, also insisted that they improve on their performances by setting a target of a top-five finish in the Super League.
In revealing his realistic wish when meeting the players at a simple ceremony held at the Le Meridien Hotel here yesterday, Musa also told them that the key to achieving these are by working together as a team and having the determination to win.

He was also seeking sincerity and honesty from the players, and warning them not to be disturbed by ‘certain quarters’.
Musa said with the return of foreign players into the M-League, this time around, the competition is going to be more competitive, and that he wants the State squad to be more ready for the challenges ahead.

He also hoped that Sabah’s two foreign signings – Australia duo of striker Michael Baird and midfielder Brendan Gan would help instil greater spirit and lift the team to greater heights.
Musa also said that the Sabahawks fans are having high expectations in wanting to see the State squad doing well this season.

“This season promises to be an exciting one because we have hired two foreign players. My wish is to see all the players play as a big team so that we can conclude our campaign at least among the top five (in the Super League),” said Musa.

“I also want to see the team maintain good discipline at all times because this is one vital ingredient towards achieving success.
Furthermore, Musa said, the players are not playing for the Sabah FA, but for the State of Sabah.

Musa also sees why Sabah cannot do well in football as Sabah is known as a winner.
“We do well and have won several national titles or even internationally such as Nasyid competition and so on. Our women’s football team is also top in the country, and I see no reason why we cannot do well in the M-League,” said Musa.

Also present at the function were Deputy President Datuk Lawrence Gimbang, Vice President I Datuk Osman Jamal, Vice President II Datuk Yusof Kassim, Vice President III Dr KH Tan, Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil and Treasurer AR Hj Shahriman Abdullah, who is also the team manager, and Mandy Woon, the Group Managing Director of GraceOne who sponsored the teams jerseys.

For the record, Sabah has not won any title for more than a decade. Their last major achievement was winning the Premier League I trophy way back in 1996.
Since then, Sabah has been title-less.

They were so close to adding silverware to their trophy cabinet in 2002 and 2003 when they made it into the Malaysia Cup final, but unfortunately, they lost their battles to the now defunct SelangorMPPJ and Selangor.
Last season, they finished 10th in the 14-team Super League and was shown the exit door as early as in the first round in the FA Cup competition.

In the Malaysia Cup, they reached the quarter-finals.
For the new season, Sabah will be banking on a squad of 27 players.
Of the 27, five are new faces, including Michael and Brendan, who has Malaysian blood, while another four ex players are also making a comeback into the team.

The three new bloods are Juffry Omopor from Pensiangan and Naim Ahmad from Putatan, with Shahrudin Yakup from Labuan, who last played for KL Sime Darby.
The four ex-players who are set to make a return into the State squad are home-grown Ronny Harun, Bobby Gonzales, Irwan Jamil, and Mohd Fariss Azlan Mat Isa from Kedah, who has gained a permanent move from Penang USM FC.

The rest that have been retained from last season’s squad are Azizon Abd Kadir, Syed Adney Syed Hussein, Mod Reithuddin Emran, Mafry Balang, Rosdin Wasli, Sumardi Hajalan, Alto Linus, Zuraindey Jumai, Radzi Mohd Hussin, Shahrul Azhar Ture, K. Thanaraj, Zainizam Marjan, Julamri Muhammad, Leopold Alfonso Otong, Sabri Sahar, Mohd Safuan Ibrahim and Razlan Oto.

Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman has also been promoted from the President’s Cup squad.
But Rozaimi together with Leopold and Sabri will still be registered with the President’s Cup squad.
Sabah will kick off the Super League challenge by taking on KL Felda United FC away on January 10 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Batu Kawan.
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