9th August, 2012
KOTA KINABALU: Md Rozaimi Abd Rahman, Sabri Sahar and Leopold Alfonso Otong are all set to sign their first professional contracts with the Sabah Football Association for the new season.
All this while, the three promising youngsters were registered under the President’s Cup squad, and have been playing on amateur contracts.
Sabah FA Secretary General Alijus Haji Sipil when met yesterday hinted that they are going to tie the trio for at least two seasons.
Rozaimi has been sensational while donning the national Under-22 colours and his superb show has made him the talk of the nation.
“Although Rozaimi and Sabri are still eligible to be registered with the President’s Cup squad (next season), but for the new season, they will be offered professional contracts and will be registered with the senior team,” said Alijus.
The trio is not the only players from the Malaysia Games gold medal squad that will gain promotion into the senior side, as six others are tipped to be promoted as well.
Among them are skipper Didie Arizal Ibrahim and first-choice custodian Endre S. Tipay.
Defenders Dendy Lowa, Razid Gapar, Mohd Adiafandi Dullah and striker Zul Mansshah Aling also look set to climb the ranks.
However, whether they are to be registered with the senior side or under the President’s Cup squad remains to be seen.
Alijus said that the six players are among those who have been recommended to be promoted into the senior team.
The Sabah FA had recently announced that they will make a major revamp to their current squad that failed miserably in the 2012 Super League challenge.
The horrific show saw them being demoted to play in the Premier League next season, which prompted the FA to take a drastic stand by announcing that they will axe almost half of the current squad while promoting some from the President’s Cup squad.
Alijus also clarified that the number of players to be dropped for the new season is 13, which includes the two foreign players – Brendan Gan and Hendrik Helmke – whose contracts will not be renewed.
Initially, it was reported that 15 players, including the two imports – were to be given the axe.
“There was some confusion in the figure earlier on. In fact, 11 local players plus the local imports will not have their contracts renewed, so as the two foreign players,” said Alijus.
When pressed further, Alijus refused to give any names of the players in the drop list apart from the two foreign players.
“We are in the midst of making all the necessary procedures to sort things out. But by September, I think all the players will know their fate in the team. According to the rules, if we want to renew their contracts or vice versa, we must inform them within three months before their contracts end,” said Alijus.