16th July, 2012
MAKING HISTORY… assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Jahid Jahim, Chef-de-Mission Datuk Suzannah Liaw and officials with their soccer heroes.
KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman has congratulated the Sabah football squad for winning the gold medal at Malaysia Games (Sukma) here.
Musa who is president of Sabah Football Association (Safa) said the success not only bring honour to the state but also make the squad respected at national level.
“This success proves that we have junior players of high quality. I hope the players can continue this winning streak and improve discipline for the development of football,” he said in a statement here yesterday.
Sabah ended a 26 years wait by winning the gold medal by beating Perak 3-0 in the final at Stadium Darul Makmur.
Meanwhile, in bowling yesterday, Steffira Zeandra Greater won the gold medal in the Girl’s All Event with 5991 pinfalls and in boxing Mohd Khairol Kallai won gold in the 64kg while Melvin Baxter Johnny won bronze in the 56kg.
But talk of the town were on the soccer and golf achievements on Saturday.
It was a very long wait, before Sabah were eventually able to celebrate their first ever Sukma gold medal after a hard fought extra time battle against uncompromising Perak at the Stadium Darul Makmur on Saturday night.
It was a moment of truth for Sabah after a sluggish 90-minute struggle with Perak dominating the attack and controlling the game.
But toast of the team, keeper Andre S. Tipay, was in outstanding form by thwarting sure-goal attempts.
After regular time (tied at 0-0), coach Johnny Domincus made a perfect substitution where Sabah took advantage of an overworked Perak squad.
Right from the start of extra time Johnny’s chargers began their onslaught when it took them only two minutes to find the net when super-sub Zulmanshah Aling connected a low cross beating the Perak custodian and sending the Sabah supporters into frenzy.
Hardly had the noise died down, the Perak defenders were caught flat-footed again when Leopold Alfonso made no mistake inside the box when his cheeky shot had the Perak keeper picking the ball from the net again … another thunderous applause from the supporters.
Sabah went for the killer blow when the prolific Rozaimi Abdul Rahman made it 3-0 with his timely shot hitting the back of the net.
This was the last ball the Perak keeper had to pick from the net.
1996 was forgotten, Sabah players, supporters, officials … began to celebrate.
It was a mind-boggling and explosive moment, supporters, player’s and officials were running and hugging, a tear shed here and there, word can’t describe the moment.
It was joy.
More joy for the player as each received cash incentive of RM1000 each!
Team manager Aljus Sipil and coach Johnny Dominicus were given hardly any room to move as they were mobbed by jubiliant fans and supporters from Sabahans working around Pahang as well as the television crew from Sabah.
Sixteen years of waiting, which is a long wait, has ended and this achievement will be cherished for many years to come after Sabah fooltballers of past Sukma’s boarded the plane home early after been knocked out in preliminary rounds.
But this is a different story where every Sabahan can be proud off.
An elated Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Peter Pang En Yin sent his congratulations to the team where he sent similar messages earlier the same day where Sabah golfers made a clean sweep by grabbing all the four gold medals at stake!
Present during the historic moment were Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Jahid Jahim and Chef-De-Mission Datuk Suzannah Liaw as well as senior officials who didn’s miss out on the celebrations.
July 14 will be etched in memory as it is the day when golf and football ruled and where five gold medals, one from tenbpin bowling (Steffira Zaendra Greater), were bagged.