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Monday, July 30, 2012

Sabah FA drops bombshell! 15 face axe, brand new team soon

New Sabah Times
TOP LEVEL MEETING … (from left), Alijus, Osman, Yusof and David at the press conference.
 KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA will finally bite the bullet. They vow to wield the axe on 15 of its players from the current squad for the new season. After announcing this bombshell, the FA hopes to form a new team, in getting to the point, a new look side that they can rely on to restore their battered pride following demotion to the Premier League next season.

 And to do this the FA is ready to splash the cash in getting their men for the new season. “We will do the best we could to restore our pride,” said Datuk Osman Jamal. “The rebuilding job will not be a one-man show, but collective efforts and decisions from all the parties involved,” the FA Vice President I said these at a press conference after chairing the Team Management Committee Meeting, which he headed, at the FA’s office in Likas yesterday.

 Without naming any of the 15, except for their import duo of Australian Brendan Gan and German Hendrik Helmke, whose contract will not be renewed – Osman said the rebuilding process begins now after all the frustrations and disappointments in the just concluded Super League. Sabah will feature in the Premier League next season after finishing 13th in the Super League 2012 and their last hope of staying up too were crushed in a 1-0 play-off defeat to Kedah.

 “We have underlined the guidelines in forming a new team. We have two months – August and September – to a form a new team. “Among the criteria we will be looking into is disciplines, character, commitment, attitude and of course talents and skills. “This new team is going to be a mixed blend of experience and young players.

We have also decided to promote five to six players from the President’s Cup squad and besides that we have also identified several players from other State. “We have decided to sign two new imports … a striker and a defender. What we are doing is, we will unveil a team or players who are capable of helping us to get back into the Super League.

 “We will talk to the players who we will be dropping, before making any announcements which will likely be in August or September. “At the moment, we are giving our new head coach (David McCreery) the chance to do his observation on all the current players. “We have asked him to look into all aspect as we don’t want a repeat of what happened before. “We have spent so much money on the team, but what we got was sheer embarrassment.

Not that we cannot accept defeat, but it must be reasonable. “David in his two weeks here gave us valuable details (of the 2012) squad citing lack in attitude, discipline and fitness. We were headed for failure,” said Osman. From his (David) observations, Osman said it has given them a benchmark to form a new team, a winning team for the new season.

 He added that it was also the hope of the FA President Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman that they pick or select players who can look after the team and the State’s dignity. “For all these to happen, we may have to fork out deeper into our pockets in acquiring talented and quality players, this won’t come cheap,”

 “We will spend more money, for Sabah’s cause, we will do it, we need to return to the Super League and this is our promise to the fans,” said Osman. Osman also said they will take the criticism from the fans positively, insisting that it will only make them stronger and getting better.

 And on a question on the position of its former head coach Justin Ganai, Osman said that he (Justin) is still with the FA and will be given a new role soon. Meanwhile, Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil hinted that they might also sign local imports to beef up their squad. In fact, Alijus without giving any name admitted that they have already identified some of the names they wish to sign. The FA Vice President II Datuk Yusof Kassim, David McCreery, team manager Yahya Kassim, Justin Ganai, Andrew Majanggim and Executive Secretary were also presence at the function.

 A four-cornered tournament featuring Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and Kalimantan club side in Tawau in September too will be a platform to finalise the State senior squad.

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