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Sunday, January 06, 2013

It’s Likas!

New Sabah Times
WHAT A RELIEF … From left, Mark, Andrew, Alijus, McCreery, Yahya and Johnny sharing a light moment during the photo session yesterday.
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabahawks are all cleared to play at their home den – the Likas Stadium. Sabah FA Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil said the stadium is now good to stage the State side’s Premier League opener against new kids on the block KL SPA Putrajaya FC tomorrow (Monday – kick off time is at 4.15pm).

 “I’m pretty pleased with the latest development, and I would like to thank the management of the stadium for their swift action. “The last time we did the inspection (on the stadium) all the machinery as well as equipment was still on the track, and this could endanger the players during a match. “However, this has been removed by the contractors, who are currently doing renovation works at the stadium.

 “With the current state (of the stadium), we are confident the match (against KL SPA) will go on as scheduled,” said Alijus. Alijus, who is also the interim team manager, said this when met at the team’s photo session in Likas yesterday. On another development, Alijus said that the price of the tickets for Sabahawks home matches will remain the same – RM20 for covered grandstand and RM10 for open terrace.

 “The tickets will be up for grabs on match day (Monday) from 10am,” said Alijus. Meanwhile, the Sabah Sports Board has pledged to provide the State squad with the best available facilities, including the Likas Stadium. Responding to the New Sabah Times Sports report (January 4, 2013 publication) over the uncertainty of the Likas Stadium to stage the Sabahawks opening game, its Deputy General Manager Mohd Asneh Mohd Noor admitted that during the last inspection conducted by the security committee (on Jan 3), the Likas Stadium was a little messy considering the fact that renovation works are ongoing.

 However, now, he pointed out, that everything has been put in order ahead of the Sabahawks’ scheduled opener. “We with the cooperation of the contractor have agreed to provide the venue for Sabah’s opening game on January 7. We admit that during the recent visit, the stadium was in a mess as upgrading or renovation works were ongoing at the time.

 “As we all know we have handed over the Likas Stadium to the contractor (for the upgrading and renovation works), since October 2012 until the expected completion date, which is early June, 2013. “In view of that, we are thankful to the contractor for willingly or rather their good office for allowing us to stage the Premier League matches.

 “In fact, in view of the ongoing upgrading works at the stadium, we have offered them (the Sabah FA) an alternative venue, which is the Tawau Stadium for their first round campaign. However, they still opted for Likas Stadium,” said Asneh. To another question, Asneh also revealed that one of the four floodlights at the stadium was damaged quite badly.

 “The fourth pole was damaged quiet badly and it needs a huge sum for the repair works as it involved a lot of cables and so on. “The cables that we are using now have not been changed or replaced since 1994, and even if we have the funds for repair, it will take about five to six months. “Repairing or upgrading the faulty pole will not help because the other three poles are also using the same old cables.

 In view of that, Asneh said the SSB will make an application to the Ministry of Finance for a special fund to upgrade all the floodlights. “What we are planning to do is to upgrade all the four floodlights because we believe that the FA of Malaysia, within the next two or three years, is expected to impose a new ruling on the brightness of the floodlights in each stadium nationwide.

 “So we are contemplating to go for 1500 lux to solve this issue,” he added. For the record, this year, the FAM set a minimum requirement of 1000 lux from 800 lux last year. It is believed that they are set to increase it to 1200 lux in the 2015 season and 1400 lux in 2017.

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