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Sabah football all out to reach new heights

17th October, 2019


KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Football Association (Safa) takes its grassroots development programmes as top priority as the association looks to empower Sabah football back to its former glory.

“As the State’s football association, it is our main objective to improve our current football development to a higher level as we seek to return Sabah as one of the footballing powerhouses in Malaysia.

“With the Safa Supreme Council members election completed, we can now focus our attention to come up with plans and programmes in line with our main objective.

This was said by Safa President, Datuk Peter Anthony during a press conference after the conclusion of the Safa Annual Congress 2019 held at the Infrastructure Development Ministry in Sembulan, here on Wednesday.

He announced that there are a number of aspects that the association will rectify in the near future which included the proposal of better facilities, improving the quality of local referees and introducing Safa’s own tournaments.

Peter, who is also the State Infrastructure Development Minister, told reporters that a discussion with the Safa supreme council will take place later on where they will discuss to create a proposal to seek the State Government’s help in improving their current facilities.

“We will try to seek the State Government’s assistance as we look to upgrade the current facilities available, namely hostel accommodation for players as well as ensuring better training equipment,” he said.

In relation to its financial situation, Safa is set to receive an allocation grant from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) where he stated that the allocation received will be put into the association’s development programme expenses.

“It has been a traditional routine for the previous management to use the allocation provided by FAM into the team’s expenses in the league but with this new and fresh management system, we want to use the allocation efficiently.

“As part of it, we have decided to reintroduce the Borneo Cup which was last held back in 1988 where we will invite teams from Kalimantan (Indonesia), Brunei as well as Labuan and Sarawak including a few from Sabah to compete in the historic football tournament in Borneo.

“We are still coming up with the paperwork for the tournament and we should announce it officially once we gather more input from all Safa district affiliates,” he said.

Peter also mentioned that Safa will organise its own football tournament aimed at promoting football development at the grassroots level.

“I think it is time for Safa to organise its very own tournament because it has been a while since the association ever hosted such a programme, as all this while, football tournaments are organised by other organisations or district affiliates.

“Hence, the association should take one step forward to help not only in unearthing new talents but promoting football seriously at the grassroots level and return Sabah to its former glory,” he added.

Towards this end, Peter pointed out that the quality of local referees must be improved so that the decision making during officiating matches can be more refined.

“We do have a few referees who have been invited to officiate matches in the Malaysian Premier League but none have reached any international level just yet.

“This is why Safa must look into the matter and improve its referee courses so that Sabah can produce quality referees that are capable of officiating big matches efficiently like other states,” he stated.

Meanwhile, during the Congress, Peter was officially elected as the association’s Supremo uncontested after being the acting president for the past year.

Datuk Juil Nuatim filled in the vacant Deputy President I post uncontested, where he joins Deputy President II, Datuk Abdul Rahman Zakaria.

Both Datuk James Wong and Henry Saimpon were elected as the Vice President III and Vice President IV, respectively with Vice President I being Benedict Asmat while Ismail Hj. Ayub is the Vice President II.

Andrew W. Majanggim retains his Secretary-General post alongside Yap Wai Loon who is the Honorary Treasurer and Andrew Laban who is the Deputy Secretary-General.

All four vacant posts namely President, Deputy President I, Vice President III and Vice President IV were won uncontested by the candidates.

Three Supreme Council slots, however were contested with Marassun Hassim, Salleh Abd Ghaffur Salleh and Mustapha Tuah winning majority votes against six other candidates for the vacant posts.

The other current Supreme Council members are Shamsudin Mohd Shah, Jimson Majemal, Othman Abdullah, Jackson Taguah and Hj. Fadli Juanas.

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