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Monday, November 12, 2012

Khairul: I’m leaving … with a heavy heart

New Sabah Times
KOTA KINABALU: Long-serving Khairul Azman Mohd has decided to leave Sabah for greener pastures. The lanky, former national goalkeeper is all set to join Super League side Johor on an undisclosed two-year contract as their goalkeeper coach. He will reunite with his former team-mate Fandi Ahmad, who is the team’s head coach-cum-manager. The two played together for Pahang in 1991 and 1992 and it was in 1992 that the duo won four trophies with Pahang.

 Besides winning the Premier League crown and the Malaysia Cup, the team also won the Fair Play and Charity Shield. Khairul, whose contract with the Sabah FA runs out end of this month, left for the Southern State yesterday to finalise the deal. “Everything has been verbally agreed by both parties. It is only a matter of putting pen to paper,” said Khairul when contacted yesterday.

 Khairul, who is married to a local Sabahan and has a five-year-old son, said he leaves Sabah with a heavy heart. “I’m leaving the Sabah team with a heavy heart. The main reason why I decided to go is because I want to gain new experience, and it has nothing to do with a good offer.

 “I will come back to Sabah one day, if there is any opportunity I will be back with the Sabah team as well and will share the experience I have gained with the Sabah players,” the 44-year-old former State skipper said. Khairul also thanked the Sabah FA, especially its President Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, deputy president Datuk Lawrence Gimbang, Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil as well as former Treasurer Hj Shahriman Abdullah for giving him the chance to be part of the team for the last two seasons.

 “I would also like to say thank you to the previous management such as Datuk Seri Anifah Aman (former President), and his committee members for the memorable success the team achieved while under their leadership. Khairul, who now holds the FA of Malaysia License C certificate and had just attended the License B course, signed for Sabah in 1995.

 During his stay with Sabah, he helped guide the team to the FA Cup crown in 1995 and the Premier League (now known as the Super League) the following year. After almost a decade donning Sabah colours making a total of 249 caps, Khairul called it a day at the end of the 2005 season, no thanks to his knee problem, and joined the team as a goalkeeper coach in 2006.

 He was the team’s goalkeeper coach until 2008. He left the team the end of 2008 before making a return in 2011. Prior to signing for Sabah, Khairul, who once won the Asia’s Best Goalkeeper Award, made 59 capped for Malaysia. He started his football career with his State team Pahang in 1985 at the age of 17. He made his national debut in 1991, played for the country until 1997.

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