18th July, 2012
MOMENTOUS OCCASION … Musa (seated 5th left), takes a group photo together with the QPR squad. Manager Mark Hughes is seated third from left.
KOTA KINABALU: The State Sukma squad was rewarded with a RM2,000 carrot each for winning Sabah’s first ever gold medal in the football event in 22 years.
The incentives were presented at the Sabah FA Gala Dinner held in conjunction with the visiting English Premier League outfit Queens Park Rangers versus Sabah Selection XI friendly tie at the Likas Stadium (last night).
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman presented the incentives to the State squad’s head coach Johnny Dominicus and captain Didie Arizal Ibrahim.
The State government through the Youth and Sports Ministry contributed RM1,000 while the other RM1,000 was from Musa.
Youth and Sports Ministry Permanent Secretary Datuk Suzannah Liaw represented her Minister Datuk Peter Pang En Yin, who was away in Pahang.
Musa, who is also the Sabah FA President, congratulated the State Sukma squad for the historical feat, adding that this achievement shows that football development is heading on the right track.
On Queens Park Rangers friendly with the State Selection XI, Musa said it was indeed an honour for Sabah to host the event.
“Having an English Premier League football club playing against our very own Sabah Selection XI is indeed an honour.
“Sabah Selection XI is a team specially brought together to play in this momentous occasion, we have players from Australia, Singapore and Thailand, and national players as well as our local players to complete the team,” said Musa.
The Sabah FA has engaged the services of its former import player Robbie Gaspar from Australia, who is currently plying his trade in the Indonesian League, and two Indonesian internationals – Titus Bonai and Oktovianus Maniani.
Baihakki Khaizan from Thailand and former national defender Nazrol Erwan Makmur were also part of the team.
Musa added that sports help foster unity and lift us beyond geographical barriers and is always a joy to see people from all walks of life celebrating the various types of sports, including football, which is very popular in many parts of the world.
“Beyond competition or wins, football teaches us about life, about working together towards a goal, building character and teaches us the importance of seizing opportunities.
“These are marks of excellence that we want to instil in the younger generation, and these values can be shared by playing and watching football,” said Musa.
On the friendly, Musa said it is in line with Sabah’s vision of producing homegrown world class athletes.
“We believe that exposure to playing with or against teams like QPR is an important experience for our footballers.
“As a mark of support for the development of sports in Sabah, the government continues to spend on upgrading relevant infrastructure. This year, some RM1.4m has been allocated to sports associations in the form of grants, which we hope will translate into the nurturing of world class athletes,” said Musa.