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Friday, November 25, 2016

Frenchmen, FA pen 1-year deals

New Sabah Times
 By FRANCIS XAVIER Francis@newsabahtimes.com.my

 KOTA KINABALU: It’s all done and dusted as Frenchmen Adlane Messelem and Steve Vilmiaire penned undisclosed one-year deals with the Sabah Football Association yesterday. The duo were brought in to lay the foundation and revive Sabah football that has been nothing more than in the doldrums in the past few seasons, particularly the state Premier League side where they have been seen struggling year in and year out.

 Adlane, 38, has been appointed as the FA’s Sporting Director, and will oversee the development of the game in the state, including the state senior team, while Steve, 31, will fill in the Sabah Rhinos hot-seat, left vacant by Croatian Vjeran Simunic, whose contract has not been renewed. In fact, Simunic was removed midway through the 2016 season due to a string of poor results, and was subsequently replaced by his assistant Johnny Dominicus, who managed the team for the rest of the season in the capacity as caretaker.

 He (Simunic) was later appointed as Technical Director for the rest of his contract that ran out last month. “We are happy to have signed for Sabah, and this will be a good new challenge for us,” Adlane said when met after the signing ceremony. “We have a young squad, but we are here to try our best to bring back glory days to Sabah football.

 “We will do something that will make Sabah football fans happy,” he added. Meanwhile, Sabah FA Deputy President II Datuk Lawrence Gimbang hopes that the duo could help make the difference to Sabah football. “We will give them our fullest support in turning around Sabah football for the better,” said Gimbang.

 “We hope they can help us build a platform or foundation to the game here. We also call on all parties, such as coaches, officials as well as the players to support them as we all share the common goal of wanting Sabah to do well in all competitions,” he added. The duo are not the only Frenchmen who will sign for Sabah, as striker Jonathan Behe is also expected to follow suit. The 27-year-old striker, who last played for Warriors FC in the S-League, is expected to arrive here in the Land Below the Wind on Sunday.

 It is also reliably learnt that Adlane and Steve are also expected to bring in a vastly experienced fitness coach who has had stints with top clubs in Ligue 1, France, as well as Real Madrid. For the record, the state 2016 squad have already started their preparations for the new season, which is expected to kick off in the second week of February next year. These 2016 squad players are joined by several players from the 2016 Reserve League team as well as those spotted during the recent selection trials.

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