Monday, January 4, 2010

Sarawak Face PDRM In Season Opener


KUCHING: The State team venture into the 2010 Premier League season with pride as the new line-up promise an exciting combination to face PDRM in their first home match - and will be played at night once again - at the Sarawak Stadium, here, on January 11. 

Fielding an array of experienced players and green horns, the team are now boosted by the new entity - the Football Management Group (FMG) Sdn Bhd - which will reignite the flame that dimmed over the past seasons, having been plagued by seemingly endless financial woes and constraints. 

Six local imports, Suffian Abdul Rahman (goalkeeper), Efendi Malik (striker), Azralan Azmi (striker), Abdul Aziz Ismail (defender), Rafiz Abu Bakar (midfield) and Wong Sai Kong (midfield) will be the beacons to guide the young players, majority of which has just played through one season. 

Former 2009 players include Abdul Gani Annuar (GK), Mazwandie Zekeria, Sahran Abdul Samad, Fareez Tukijo, Zamri Morshidi, Azizan Saperi, Hairol Moktar, Sufizal Ismail, Abang Zaafari Abang Othman, Fadly Kassim, Dzulazlan Ibrahim, Firdaus Morshidi, Shahrol Saperi, Habib Arshad and Hadera Bakri. 

“We can’t expect anything yet, but we are preparing to the best of our ability,” said newly signed head coach, Zaki Sheikh Ahmad responding to the results of their exposure trip to Peninsular Malaysia. 

In the friendly matches, Sarawak went down 0-2 to Selangor, edged by KL Plus 3-4, drew 0-0 with Melaka and Kuala Lumpur and won 1-0 over PKNS Selangor.

However, Sarawak only played 45 minutes against Kuala Lumpur when the match was disrupted by heavy downpour, which led to the match being cancelled when the score was 0-0. 

“Sarawak has been in the down for too long. What we are doing is team preparation to raise up their morale and confidence and gel them as a family and team,” added Zaki. 

In the 2010 Premier League, Sarawak will be pitted against Sabah, Felda United, PDRM, ATM, Harimau Muda, Perbandaran Muar, Selangor PKNS, SDM Kepala Batas, POS Malaysia, Melaka FC and Pahang Shahzan Muda. 

To boost the team, Zaki added that a ‘sparring match’ will be held this Friday against the President Cup squad while today will see them play a friendly match against Samarahan. 

He disclosed that Datu Sudarsono Osman, who was appointed as the chairman of FAS FMG Sdn Bhd, has shown and proved his dedication to the team throughout the friendlies, signalling a breathe of hope for Sarawak football. 

Abbreviated from the Football Association of Sarawak and Football Management Group Sdn Bhd, the new unit will be divided into Team Management and Business Development bodies. 

The Business Development body will manage the State team for the 2010 season, select and appoint the team’s officials, select players, scout and generate income and handle the marketing and publicity department.

The Team Management will solely focus on implementing the rules and changes made by FIFA and FAM, organise local leagues, development of football at the grassroots level together with the Sarawak State Sports Council, as the communicating bridge to FAM and the development of coaches and referees. 

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