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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sabah football needs new blood

New Sabah Times

KOTA KINABALU: Yamani Hafez Musa, who has taken a brave step in calling for the Sabah Football Association (SFA) to make a comprehensive transformation, including its leaders, in order to function more effectively in the development of football in Sabah, is not alone in his cause! There had been a lot of response to the call, who all concurred with him that it is time for a change. Former team officials, coaches and players alike are among those who have expressed their support for Hafez. 

They all described the call as timely! Ronald Cooke, a former Sabah team manager, said that Sabah FA must keep Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman as its president as it is important for the football association to get the support of the state government in their bid to be a major football team in Malaysia. “I believe that the deputy president and below should make way for younger blood to take Sabah out of the decades of rut,” Cooke said, adding that they have overstayed their welcome.

 Coaches such as Faisal Yee from Lahad Datu, Rahman Madnoor (Tawau) and Rusli Hassan from Sandakan, all agreed with Hafez’s statement. They said the statement from the SFA Futsal and Beach Soccer Committee Chairman should be taken seriously and viewed from a positive angle for the sake of Sabah football.

 “What is being said by Hafez is a fact that is being experienced by SFA. “If we are to look at the problems faced by the association, especially in terms of preparing a team or development programme, it has happened in all seasons,” said Faisal, who is a former State President’s Cup coach. Another former President’s Cup coach, Rahman, said that the SFA does not even have a long-term development plan.

 “Football is the number one sport in the world, and it is ironic that an association that is running football in Sabah does not have an annual calendar. At least they must have an annual tournament for the age groups as well as the seniors. “I cannot remember the last time they held an open championship,” Rahman added.

 “They also need to have a football module that can be carried out at all the districts, which I believe is very important in the development of the game. And until today, we have not seen one,” Rahman said. On the other hand, Rusli believed that what has been said by Hafez is representing the majority of football fans in Sabah.

 “Even if there is no transformation in terms of leadership, but there must be a transformation in terms of ideas and so on,” he said. A former State player, Pernando Paul @ Nandes agreed with Hafez that SFA needs a comprehensive transformation. “A comprehensive plan needs to be implemented, and should not be on paper only. All parties need to change for Sabah’s football revival.

 “We need leaders who have big dreams and are brave enough to implement those dreams or ideas. “SFA should take his (Hafez) call positively and look at what they have implemented and make their own assessment for the development of football in Sabah. Pernando said he was proud and respects what Hafez has done in bringing up the matter. “This shows that he is concerned and committed with the development of football here,” said Pernando.

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