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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bring back glory days!

New Sabah Times
SABAH’S COLOURS … representative from Grace One Sdn Bhd, Chan Chuan Sian (2nd left), hands over the State jersey to Musa (3rd right).
KOTA KINABALU: The newly revamped State squad has been given a tall order to bring back glory days to Sabah football. Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman insists as long as the players give all they have and are serious in their bid to win, it is not impossible for the current side to do well and make Sabah proud in the national football scene.

 He also stressed it is important that everyone, especially the players, stay united and work together towards achieving their common goals. The Sabah FA Supremo also wants greater professionalism from all parties involved to ensure Sabah realises its quest for an immediate return to the Super League 2014. Speaking at the Meet-the-Player session held at a leading hotel here yesterday, Musa admitted that he was disappointed with the past performance of the team.

 “We are not happy with the team’s performance before this … it did not perform very well. And we took a drastic step to revamp the squad by dropping almost 60 per cent of the players to try and return Sabah to the Super League (in 2014),” he said, while wanting to see greater commitment and dedication from the team including players, coaches and management alike.

 “Football is your career and is therefore your profession. Only if you are really serious, disciplined and committed will you excel,” said Musa. He went on to say that as professional footballers, it is the players’ duty to perform their best. “You must have dignity to perform your best, regardless of where you come from. It is the same for top clubs around the world like Chelsea, Liverpool or Arsenal, who have players from all over the world. But they all play for the team to the best of their ability.

 “There must be honesty in what we are doing. Just like in politics, honesty and sincerity are the key factors. We will not accept any excuses from anyone who tries to sell matches,” said Musa, before declaring that they will not tolerate match-fixing, and that if any of the players are found to have been involved in such practice, they will be expelled from the team.

 “We expect all players to display utmost discipline and true commitment. Take Kelantan as an example. They won three titles this season. They could not have done it without discipline and commitment. “And for Sabah, at one time we were winners of the FA Cup. I do not think it is impossible to repeat that success,” said Musa. Besides the State senior squad, who will mount Sabah’s main challenge in the Premier League, the other two teams were also unveiled at the ceremony – the State Under-21 squad as well as Cebagoo FC, who will feature in the President’s Cup and FAM League respectively next season.

 For the record, former Manchester United player and Northern Ireland international, David McCreery will lead the squad as head coach, while Sabah FA secretary-general, Alijus Sipil, will assume duties as interim team manager. The team is set play several friendly matches on a short pre-season stint against Selangor, T-Team and Police (from December 26-28), followed by a friendly match against a Philippines club side on January 2.

 Datuk Juil Nuatim takes the helm as manager of the President’s Cup squad, while Justin Ganai as the head coach, while Cebagoo FC on the other hand will be Sabah’s first representative in five years to feature in the FAM League. They have named Razali Zinin as the head coach and assisted by Jelius Ating. For the record Sabah will begin their Premier League campaign against newly promoted, KL SPA Putrajaya FC at the Likas Stadium on January 7.

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