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‘Don’t let them waste away’

10th July, 2020


KOTA KINABALU: The cancellation of the President’s Cup and Youth Cup tournaments due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Sabah Football Association (Safa) to find ways to get its young players to stay active in the game.

Its, President Datuk Peter Anthony said it would be such a waste if these young talents are left idle because of the cancellation of the two national junior leagues.

For that, he said they need to sit down and find the best way to help these players get a chance to be active in football.

“With this setback, it is important for us to have a special programme so that they can stay active in the game.

“For the Under-19 and Under-21 for example, we cannot rely solely on the President’s Cup (Under-21) and the Youth Cup (Under-19) that is organised by the FA of Malaysia as their only direction.

“That is why it was a big blow for our young players when both the President’s Cup and Youth Cup competitions were cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Peter when contacted yesterday.

In this regard, he said the football development issue, including for Under-19 and Under-21 players will be among the key agenda, that will be brought up during Safa’s next meeting.

At the moment, he said the President’s Cup squad still has the opportunity to compete as they will also represent Sabah at the Malaysia Games that will be held in Johor in March, next year.

“Nevertheless, we need to come up with a more comprehensive programme to enable our young players to stay active. It will involve short and long-term development programmes and needs continuity.

According to him, what they have in mind now is that they want to strengthen grassroots development and organising local football competitions.

Peter, who is also Infrastructure Development Minister, said the Borneo Cup KDM Malaysia 2020 which is scheduled to kick off the latest by October this year is one of the latest prestigious tournament being organised in the state.

For the record, the Borneo Cup KDM Malaysia 2020 football championship is organised by Kadazan Dusun Murut (KDM) Malaysia, which Peter heads, with the cooperation of Safa.

It is opened to teams or clubs from throughout Sabah as well as invitational teams from Brunei, Sarawak and Kalimantan.

“I believe this tournament (the Borneo Cup KDM Malaysia) will be one of the main venues for our young players to stay active playing football,” he said.

Meanwhile, Peter also said that they might recall their Under-21 players to report for camp early as they want to prepare the team for the Malaysia Games.

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