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Monday, December 21, 2015

Hassan, James to assist Nizam

FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

 KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Nizam Abu Bakar Titingan has been named as the new team manager for the Sabah Premier League squad for the new season. The Sabah FA Assistant Secretary General will be assisted by two former football greats James Wong and Hassan Sani.

 In confirming this yesterday, Sabah FA Deputy President II Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said actually, the trio had officially resumed their respective roles since December 1. Gimbang said the inclusion of the two legends in the team will certainly help inspire and motivate players, especially the young ones.

 For the new season, Gimbang said these managers will take turns in leading the team to away matches. For the new season, Sabah Rhinos, who are into their fourth year in the second tier of the national league since their demotion from the Super League in 2012, are under the watchful eyes of head coach Vjeran Simunic.

 The Croatian is assisted by Johnny Dominicus while Mark Damun is the goalkeeping coach. Simunic, whose previous managerial stint included DPMM FC of Brunei and Perak, have a mammoth task to build a formidable squad to face the 2016 season as more than half the 2015 players in the squad had left the team, either their contract were not renewed or they looked for greener pastures.

 For the record, James and Hassan, along with the late Peter Rajah, are best remembered for their roles in helping Malaysia qualified for the Olympic Games 1980. Peter Rajah passed away at 6.16am in Sandakan on November 14, 2014 at the Duchess of Kent Hospital here from heart ailment.

 The late Peter, 63, was admitted to the hospital after he complained of being ill. He was later placed at the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) and was in a coma for the last two days. Peter frequently received follow-up treatment at the hospital for his ailment.

 Peter, who was the Sandakan Sports Complex manager, is survived by his wife Tracie Gom and three children. Together with Hassan Sani and James Wong, he dominated the Sabah and national football scene in the early 80s. It was James who scored the winning goal with an assist from Hassan in the 2-1 victory against South Korea in the qualifier.

 However, Malaysia did not participate in the Olympics as the country joined the US-led boycott of the games in Moscow.

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