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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hafez: SFA needs comprehensive transformation!

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Football Association (SFA) needs to make a comprehensive transformation in order to function more effectively in the development of football in Sabah. Yamani Hafez bin Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said this transformation must also include its leaders. He opined that SFA should be aware that at the moment, their efforts in bringing the sport to a new level are not enough, and that they merely seemed to be moving on a normal flow.

 “Proactive measures must be taken to change the scenario of Sabah football as a whole. Transformation must be bandied about, and leaders at all district FAs must also have the enthusiasm, passion to win and desire to see the development of the game, especially the State senior team,” said Hafez when met at the State Sukma futsal team training held at the Borneo Sports Arena in Kolombong here yesterday.

 Hafez, who heads the SFA Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee, added that if there is enthusiasm, passion to win and the desire to be successful, it will give a positive impact that is needed in the development of the sport, which eventually helps instill greater interest among the fans towards football as well as the State teams.

 “It has been a while since our stadium was packed to its capacity. We miss the noisy occasion. It is sad to note that those days are long gone now for a simple reason – that our State team failed to meet the expectations that we have hoped for,” Hafez said. “Sabah is now in the Premier League, and it seems that we will remain in the country’s second tier competition next year because our chance of promotion is long gone.

We are sad to see that Sabah is no longer a feared team in the M-League. He said that what Sabah has achieved in the Premier League thus far is as good as failure considering the fact that they have spent big in preparing the team. “I hope a post mortem will be conducted to look into all this in order to rectify where or what went wrong, especially in forming a formidable side in facing the M-League next season.

 Hafez also touched on SFA’s programmes, including its annual calendar, which is a must among all sports associations. He said records have proven that the main contributors to Sabah’s golden era in the 1980s and 1990s were the association’s inter-zone tournaments involving all ages from Under-14, 18, 21 and 23. But now, SFA has failed to organise these tournaments consistently over the years, and he believes that these are among the obstacles that need to be solved immediately in order for Sabah football to gain success.

 “We don’t want to see the development only on paper. We want it to be implemented. We must have objectives and must try our best to achieve it,” he said. Hafez said the SFA must utilise to the fullest its new constitution by having district affiliations rather than the zones, in implementing development programmes right from the grassroots level.

 “There should be a comprehensive and strategic planning for long term in order to produce quality players, starting from the grassroots level. This is an investment that ensures we do not lack the support and back-up players. This is done by countries that have advanced in football,” said Hafez. “The concept of ‘Team behind the Team’ should be adopted to strengthen the team in the long run.

This would also prevent us from holding selection trials on an ad hoc basis as currently practised by the SFA where there are limited resources and the quality vague. He also said that the SFA also needs to study why local players such as Bobby Gonzales, Ronny Harun and Zuraindey Jumai to name a few failed to shine when playing for Sabah, but did extremely well with other teams.

 “I believe that if all parties within SFA and its district affiliate members could give total commitment and effort towards the development of football in Sabah, there is no reason why Sabah football cannot bring back its glory days. For this reason, there must be transformation,” said Hafez.

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