Saturday, 14 April 2012

Malaysia to play friendly match against English club Arsenal in July

English Premier League (EPL) club  Arsenal FC has promised to field their best players against a Malaysian side during their scheduled friendly match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on July 24.

"Absolutely, we'll bring in the full squad here. It'll be the preparation for the team for the coming season," Arsenal FC marketing director, Angus Kinnear, told a press conference here, Tuesday.

"Most of the senior players in the team will be playing in the Euro 2012  (European Cup) and they'll be back for the pre-season training," he explained.

Life story of legendary goalkeeper Arumugam to be published as book

A book,  describing the life story and achievements of the late Datuk R. Arumugam or better known as 'Spiderman' will be published soon.

Arumugam, born on Jan 31, 1953 in Port Klang with exceptionally long arms and brilliant saves, earned him the nickname "Spiderman".

Datuk Sheikh Rajesh Sheikh Ahmad who initiated the move to publish the book said to ensure the book was published, he would gather material and pictures from Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia as well as collect pictures and paper cuttings from friends and those who knew him.

"I hope the published book can be used as a reading material and reference for youths to relive the glory days of Malaysian football during the Golden Era of the 70s and 80s," he told reporters here Tuesday.

Malaysia falls to 156th place in FIFA ranking

The  lack of international friendly matches has caused the national football squad to continue sliding in their ranking in the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

According to FIFA's latest ranking issued today, Malaysia fell four spots to 156th in the world as compared to 152nd last month.

The position is the worst ever attained by the squad this year, after being placed 148th in January, and 150th in February.

According to the latest ranking, Harimau Malaya is now ranked below Bangladesh (152), Palestine (153), New Caledonia (154) and Samoa (155), which have far less basic football facilities, such as football fields and sports equipment.

Among Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia is placed fifth behind Vietnam (97), Thailand (141), Philippines (148) and Indonesia (151). At Asian level, Malaysia fell three spots to 27th from 46  countries, as compared to 24th last month.

Meanwhile, 2010 World Cup champion Spain continues to strengthen its position as the world's best football team by collecting 1,442 points, followed by Germany which amassed 1,345 points.

South American team Uruquay is now ranked third after pushing Netherlands to fourth spot with 1,309.

Sarawak fans asked to behave during matches

Police are advising fanatical football fans in Sarawak to keep their emotions in check.

Sarawak police commissioner Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said it was okay to be supportive of their favourite teams but violence was a no no.

"The case of fans turning violent recently is something rare in Sarawak and it is an isolated incident," he told reporters on the sidelines of Bukit Aman director of management Datuk Mortadza Nazerene's visit to Sarawak Energy Berhad's office here Friday.

He added that following the violence that happened at  Stadium Negeri Petra Jaya here on April 7, police would beef up their presence at stadiums and also enlist the help of the General Operations Fore and People's Volunteer Corps.

L/Cpl Amzari Othman, 33, was injured in the lips after fans turned unruly and attacked policemen at the stadium that day.

Olympic squad to start training for Under-22 Asian Cup

The Harimau Muda A squad is expected to start centralised training for the Under 22 Asian Cup Qualifying Round early next month.

Head coach Ong Kim Swee said has yet to determine the number of players for the tournament due to their involvement in the Singapore League.

"Players eligible for the tournament will be decided after we finish training at end May.

"I also plan to use several club players to strengthen our challenge," he said when contacted by Bernama Friday.

Malaysia which will be represented by Harimau Muda have been drawn in Group G with South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines and Myanmar as group host.

Pahang move into joint top place in Premier League

Pahang caught up with Premier  League leaders Armed Forces (ATM) when they defeated club side Betaria of Negeri Sembilan 2-0 at the Temerloh Stadium Friday night.

The two teams now are sharing 26 points a piece, Pahang with an inferior goal difference, after 12 rounds of matches.

Azamuddin Mohd Akil scored the first goal in the 48th minute followed by  Mohd Azuan in the 77th minute.

ATM on the other hand were only able to carve out a 2-2 draw against Police at the MBPJ Stadium in Kelana Jaya.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Olympic squad move into top place in Singapore league

The Harimau Muda continued their fine form in the Singapore League (S-League) by edging Singapore Armed Forces (SAFFC) 2-1 at the Choa Chu Kang Stadium last night.

Striker Ahmad Hazwan Bakri was the hero for the Malaysian Under-23 side, scoring the winner in the 88th minute.

Winger Wan Zack Haikal Wan Noor gave Harimau the lead in the 70th minute but SAFFC’s Japanese striker Shimpei Sakurada equalised in the 78th minute.

The win enabled the Harimau Muda to share the lead in the S-League with DPMM Brunei.
Both teams have 14 points from six matches but the Brunei club lead the standings on more goals scored.

The Harimau Muda’s next match is against Home United at the Bishan Stadium on Sunday.
In another match, Young Lions earned their first point of the season after holding Balestier Khalsa 1-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

Safee Sali defends the performance of national team

National striker Mohd Safee Sali brushed aside the recent criticism of the national football team’s poor form.

The FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa had criticised the national team’s performance when their winless run extended to seven matches following a 1-1 draw with the Philippines on Feb 29.

“Its not a big problem as it is quite normal for footballers to get criticisms,” said Safee at the Super Safee comic and Safee fan club launch at the Khaff Football Academy in Hulu Kelang yesterday.

“We (players) feel the pinch when the criticism comes from your own parent body and I think its not appropriate for people to just lambast the team. I’m sure the coach has plans for the team to defend our AFF Suzuki Cup crown.

“We are still a long way off from the AFF Suzuki Cup tournament which will be held in November and I personally have to improve more and fortunately, we have plenty of time to rectify our weaknesses.”

The stocky striker is on a rich vein of form in the Indonesian Super League after bagging 12 goals in 17 matches. On March 24, he scored four goals in his team Pelita Jaya’s 6-1 rout of Gresik United.

“I’m happy with my club form. The players are slowly gelling as a team and we will improve in the second half of the season,” said the former Selangor player.

Former Malaysian football great Datuk Ghani Minhat advised players to stay away from spats between FAM officials.

“Outsiders can comment on FAM but it is not wise for FAM officials to lambast FAM,” said Ghani, who was also at the launch.

“A deputy president shouldn’t speak in public about FAM. There are rules and it should be adhered to. Players also shouldn’t get involved in this matter.”

Meanwhile, the Kelantan FA (Kafa) said they are not behind the protests by fans over FAM’s decision to ask Kafa president Tan Sri Annuar Musa to face the disciplinary board.

Kafa secretary-general and team manager Azman Ibrahim said he was not aware of the protest held outside the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium before the Super League match between Kelantan and KL Felda United on Saturday.

“We are not behind the protest. It is done by the supporters. We do not know what their plans are,” said Azman in Kota Baru yesterday.

The fans paraded banners criticising FAM outside and inside the stadium throughout the match and it is an act which could land Kafa in trouble.

“I could not see the banners from where I was seated. If you did not point it out to me, I would not have noticed the banners. Of course, I would have asked for it to be removed if I saw it earlier,” said Azman, when asked to comment about the banners.

“We cannot control every single thing the fans do.”

One of the banners read: “FAM president do not influence the disciplinary committee’s decision.”

Annuar, who is the FAM deputy president, is facing disciplinary charges following his public criticism of the national team’s performance.

It is understood that the fans intend to stage a demonstration outside Wisma FAM on April 4 during Annuar’s hearing.

Terengganu struggling without top striker Doe

The Turtles lack the cutting edge in attack without star striker Francis Forkey Doe as they lumbered to a disappointing goalless draw in the Super League match against minnows Johor FC at the Sultan Ismail Stadium here on Saturday.

Despite having the giant share in possession, the Turtles were unable to make the breakthrough against a resolute Johor FC defence.

Turtles’ striker Abdul Hadi Yahya, granted a rare starting berth due to Doe’s suspension, was the main culprit in missing several chances including a golden opportunity from two yards out late in the first half.

The match turned into a snore-fest with only two notable moments – when the Turtles had two goals disallowed for offside.

A dejected Mat Zan Mat Aris conceded his team played poorly despite dominating the proceedings.

“We failed in the final-third as our forwards were poor in their finishing. Our build-up play was good but our finishing was disappointing … it was a frustrating match,” he said.

On Abdul Hadi’s performance, Mat Zan said the striker failed to find spaces to make runs or to punish Johor FC’s defence.

“I hope Hadi can regain his form, which made him the golden boot winner last season,” he said.
Mat Zan said he substituted Hadi and brought in Joseph Kalang Tie in the second half, as he wanted more speed in the team’s play.

“In the end, it was not our day but we have to correct our mistakes and be ready for the next game.”

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Safee Sali waiting for FIFA decision on Indonesian league

Safee Sali will have a clearer picture of his future with Pelita Jaya FC on June 15 when Fifa decides whether to impose sanctions on the FA of Indonesia (PSSI).

At a meeting in Zurich on Friday, Fifa agreed to hold off sanctions on PSSI, giving it until June 15 to resolve a crisis sparked by the rebel Indonesian Super League (ISL).

ISL was formerly the official league before the national body introduced the Indonesian Premier League (LPI).

The issue, however, has become huge with the formation of a breakaway body -- the Indonesian Soccer Rescue Committee (KPSI).

According to Indonesian newspaper Kompas, KPSI plans to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to have it recognised as the head of Indonesian soccer by Fifa.

"PSSI must settle the issues, at stake, notably the control of the breakaway league, failing which the case will be referred to the Fifa Emergency Committee for suspension," said Fifa  in a statement.

Fifa had asked PSSI to resolve problems triggered by the unofficial ISL, which has split the country's best clubs.

PSSI's legal team submitted their proposals on resolving the crisis on March 19, including plans to merge the leagues or formally recognise ISL, but on condition it would be under its control.

PSSI disciplinary commission head, Bernhard Limbong, said he was optimistic its move to recognise ISL would avoid sanctions.

"We have followed Fifa's order to hold a congress before March 20 and we did that.

"We have also admitted ISL, as well as LPI, under PSSI, which addressed Fifa's statute to unite the breakaway league into one single league," Limbong told Reuters.

Safee's interest, however, is safeguarded by the exit plan formulated when he signed an improved two-year contract extension with Pelita in January.

The striker has been given assurances that he would be able to move to one of three other clubs belonging to Pelita's owner Jaya Cronus -- Australian club Brisbane Roar, Belgian second division CS Vise or Uruguay's SAD -- if PSSI is suspended.

Nigerian striker Onyekachi Nowha scores two goals as Kelantan win in Super League

Under-fire striker Onyekachi Nowha answered his critics with a brace in Kelantan 5-1 thrashing of Felda United in Kota Baru yesterday as the East Coast side maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Super League.

The 29-year-old Nigerian was on target in the third and 45th minute before Norfarhan Mohd (65th), Indra Putra Mahayuddin (69th) and Badri Radzi (84th) completed the rout. Felda replied through Azrul Ahmad in the fourth minute.

At the Jalan Besar Stadium, Shahdan Sulaiman's penalty four minutes from time earned Singapore's LionsXII a 2-1 victory over T-Team to stay in second place with 24 points.

Shahdan cooly slotted home from the spot past T-Team goalkeeper Mohd Iqbal Suhaimi, who was brilliant throughout the match, after teammate Agu Casmir was fouled in the  box.

Lions, however, must thank their lucky stars for the victory as they almost blew it following Shahril Ishak's penalty miss  in the 60th minute.

The homesters turned on the heat by scoring first through  Shahril in the 51st minute before Zairo Anuar Zalani levelled proceedings, after a brilliant inter-change with Badrul  Hisani Abdul Rahman, three minutes later.

At Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Terengganu stayed at third spot in the table following their 0-0 draw with Johor FC.

Terengganu struggled to create chances without suspended striker Francis Doe and the injured Manaf Mamat.

Abdul Hadi Yahya was the only prolific striker upfront but the national player failed to impress.

"Our lack of creativity in attack was obvious in the absence of Francis Doe. We have dropped points but at least we did not lose," said Terengganu coach Mat Zan Mat Aris.

At Likas Stadium, former champions Selangor came  from behind to grab a 1-1 draw with Sabah.

Sabah got a gift goal when Michael Baird scored from a defensive slip-up between defender Rasman Roslan  and goalkeeper G. Jeevananthan in the fourth minute.

Coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim replaced Azidan Sarudin with  K. Solihin after the breather and the move added more pace  to Selangor's game and they were finally rewarded in the  60th minute through P. Gunalan's equaliser.

Kelantan win to stay top while Singapore move into second in Super League

Kelantan scored their biggest win of the season when they thrashed lowly Felda United 5-1 in a Super League match at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru last night.

The Red Warriors showed no mercy to the struggling club side after Nigerian import Nwoha Onyekachi led the goal rush with a brace in the third and 45th minutes.

Mohd Norfarhan Mohd (65th), Indra Putra Mahayuddin (69th) and skipper Mohd Badhri Radzi (80th) were also on target.

Felda’s goal came via Azrul Ahmad’s equaliser in the fourth minute.

The big win saw the east coast side consolidating their position at the top of the league with 26 points from 11 matches.

Lions XII moved up to second spot after they edged T-Team 2-1 at the Jalan Besar Stadium. Midfielder Shahdan Sulaiman converted a penalty in the 85th minute to claim full points for the Singaporeans.

Lions skipper Shahril Ishak fired the hosts ahead in the 51st minute before his T-Team counterpart Zairo Anuar Zailani drew level just two minutes later.

Terengganu dropped to third place on 21 points after being held to goalless draw by Johor FC at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

At the Likas Stadium, Selangor were forced to labour to a 1-1 draw with Sabah.

The Rhinos’ Australian import Michael Baird stunned the Red Giants with an early strike after only three minutes before leftback P. Gunalan equalised in the 60th minute.

Midfielder Baird took advantage of a miscommunication between Selangor goalkeeper G. Jeevananthan and rightback Mohd Razman Roslan to draw first blood.

Selangor came back stronger in the second half to dominate the match and Gunalan blasted in a half volley for a well-deserved equaliser.

In Kelana Jaya, Sarawak stunned PKNS FC 4-1 at the MBPJ Stadium. The East Malaysians scored through Shahrol Saperi (12), Ashri Chuchu (45, 81) and Vedran Muratovic (65) while Khairul Azrin (58th) replied for PKNS FC.

Olympic squad ready for tough match against Singapore Armed Forces in Singapore league

Harimau Muda coach Ong Kim Swee is wary of the threat from the Singapore Armed Forces FC (SAFFC) in their S-League match at the Choa Chu Kang stadium tonight.

The Harimau Muda are third in the standings with 11 points from five matches. Kim Swee’s boys have a game in hand and are still unbeaten in the 13-team league but SAFFC won’t be easy opponents.

The soldiers will be looking to keep up the momentum after beating Tanjong Pagar United 3-1 at Queenstown Stadium on March 23.

“I watched the SAFFC-Tanjong Pagar United match. They are a well balanced side and have several Singapore national players in the team,” said Kim Swee.

“SAFFC are a harder team compared to our previous opponents Young Lions, Brunei DPMM, Albirex Niigata, Tanjong Pagar and Gombak United. 

“But I believe it will be a good opportunity to gauge how my players cope at this level.”

The SAFFC, who are starting to gel as a team, naturalised Bah Mamadou and Daniel Bennett marshalling the backline, while Japanese midfielder Tatsuro Inui and striker Mislav Karoglan of Bosnia and Hezergovina are among the players that could end Harimau Muda’s unbeaten record.

Kim Swee will be without midfielder Mohd Irfan Fazail and defender Mohd Affize Faisal Mamat and will be replaced by Shahrul Saad and Mohd Azzizan Nordin.

“We will try to keep our unbeaten record intact and I’m confident we can get a good result if the players work hard and follow instructions,” said Kim Swee.

“We are better rested heading to this match but we are without our regulars Irfan, Affize, Mahali Jasuli and Wan Zaharulnizam Zakaria so it cancels out our advantage. I hope the reserve players, who get to play in this match, can prove themselves.”

Kelantan fans unhappy over FAM's action against their FA president

Kelantan fans staged a protest over the FA of Malaysia’s treatment of their FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium yesterday.

The fans, who came early for the Super League match between Kelantan-Felda United, are unhappy that Annuar has to face the FAM disciplinary committee for criticising the national football team’s performance.

Annuar, who is also FAM deputy president, faces a lengthy ban if he is found guilty of making a critical comment about coach K. Rajagopal’s national team.

Annuar voiced his opinion after the national team drew 1-1 with the Philippines. 

It was the team’s seventh match without a win on the international stage.

Annuar could be handed a two-year ban from football if found guilty of breaching Article 88 of FAM’s statutes, which state that only the president and secretary-general are allowed to make statements on Malaysian football.

FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah had also reminded football officials not to be outspoken when speaking to the media.

About 50 Kelantan supporters unfurled banners with one having the words: “FAM president don’t influence the disciplinary committee’s decision.” 

They also marched around the stadium voicing their unhappiness with the FAM and even asking the president to step down.

“Tan Sri (Annuar) only gave his opinion and advice in his capacity as deputy president of FAM. 

“And for this he is asked to face disciplinary charges, this is unfair. 

“We want justice,” said Mahizi Mahmood, deputy president of fan club site

“We demand that the president of FAM step down and let someone else take over because he has been there for too long,” said Mohd Zaini Mohd Zain, president of Kota Baru Red Warriors club. 

Kelantan thrash Felda United to retain top spot in Super League

Kelantan  continued to rule the roost at the top of the Super League when they beat Felda United 5-1 at Stadium Sultan Mohammed IV in Kota Bharu Saturday night.

The squad of Bojan Hodak has collected 26 points, two more points than their nearest challenger, Lions XII, which bagged 24 points.

Kelantan import player Nwoha Onyekach was the hero of the Red Warriors when he scored two goals, in the third and 45th minute.

Kelantan midfielder Mohd Nor Farhan Mohamad netted a goal at the 65th minute, Indra Putera Mahayuddin (67th minute) and team captain Mohd Badhri Mohd Radzi (81st minute).

Friday, 30 March 2012

Malaysia determined to defend AFF Cup

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have drawn up a master plan to retain the Suzuki Cup Asean Football Federation (AFF) championships this year.

National team manager Datuk Subahan Kamal said they are leaving no stone unturned in a bid to maintain their supremacy in this biennial regional championship.

“It may be a tall order to defend the title but we are optimistic of proving that our success is no flash in the pan,” Subahan said after the national trainees concluded their second phase of centralised training at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.

National coach Datuk K. Rajagopal has identified a big pool of 66 players and will be testing each one of them in the remaining seven phases of centralised training before the AFF championship begin from Nov 14-Dec 22.

Subahan said they have lined up eight international test matches for the national team, including against India in May (away), Singapore in June (home and away), New Zealand in Sept (home and away), UAE and Qatar both in October (away). 

He said there will also go on a three-match playing tour of either Australia or China from July 27-Aug 12.

“We are more or less done with the selection process and have chosen a mixture of senior and young players from the Under-21 age-group. By the end of April we will finalise 35 players for the next stage of our preparations,” said Subahan.

He said the national team’s target is to qualify for the 2015 Asian Cup Finals in Australia.

“It is a long process but we are getting there. The next stage of our preparations will be to arrange top notch matches for the players. In May, we will get down to serious training. There is bound to be new players because some seniors are struggling to recover from injuries. The good thing is that we have promising talents emerging from the Harimau Muda squads too,” said Subahan.

Two players from the Harimau Muda A squad, currently playing in the S-League, have been offered places in Division Two club sides in Japan.

“This is the beginning and we hope to see more of our boys playing abroad. I will be happy to see more boys play in Korea, China, Thailand or even in Singapore. If we can get at least 10 boys playing overseas – the result of the national team will improve in Asia,” said Subahan, who believes that the national team will gain from the players’ exposure in more challenging leagues.

At present, national striker Mohd Safee Sali is the only one plying his trade in Indonesia with Pelita Jaya FC.

Negeri Sembilan striker Jean Owona told to behave

Top Negeri Sembilan goal poacher Jean Owona has been warned not to get into unnecessary trouble.

Head coach Mohd Azraai Khor Abdullah said the two-match ban on Owona has put the team in a difficult spot ahead of their Super League matches matches against Kuala Lumpur at the Hang Jebat Stadium today and Lions XII at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on April 3.

“Everyone knows Owona is the main man for goals … and to have him out for two matches is a blow to our league campaign,” said a disappointed Azraai yesterday.

Negeri’s campaign has been far from smooth. 

They are seventh in the standings on 15 points and trail leaders Kelantan by eight points. Their FA Cup campaign is over after losing 2-1 to Johor FC in the first round in Paroi.

Azraai said they have no room for any slip-ups and need maximum points from the next two outings to ensure their rise in the standings.

“Yes, playing well and scoring regularly is one thing but that does not mean you can compromise on discipline. 

“Players must learn to behave themselves and not get into unecessary trouble by picking up suspensions and leaving the team in a dilemma,” said Azraai.

Cameroon striker Owona is the leading marksman with nine goals but will pay a heavy price for his own folly after being slapped with a two-match ban and a RM3,000 fine for pulling Felda

United goalkeeper Mohd Hamsani Ahmad’s ears and for pushing S. Sivanesan on the cheek in a Super League match at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on Jan 21.

“Owona should understand by now that he is a marked man in the competition. 

“He should also understand the way the game is played here and cope with it. If he (Owona) can’t get along and continues to get himself into trouble, then, it leaves me with no choice but to look at other alternatives,” said Azraai.

T-Team determined to do well in Super League after FA Cup failure

After failing to get a place in  the semi-final of the FA Cup last night, T-Team have now shifted their focus on the Super League competition, determined to end up in the top five.

The Young Turtles squad lost to Kedah on a 1-2 aggregate in their second leg quarter-final match at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium last night. Both teams were tied to a scoreless draw in their first leg match on March 24.

T-Team coach Yunus Alif said the team's failure in its own backyard was a major disappointment.

"Last night's match was not the game that I wanted. It's a lesson the team had better learned in facing other matches," he told reporters here Wednesday.

Sports Minister wants players educated on the dangers of match fixing

Low wages should not be a factor for football players to be involved in match-fixing or bribery which has continued to tarnish the image of football in the country.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Razali Ibrahim said no reason should be accepted for players involvement in match fixing or bribery and efforts must be taken by those involved, especially the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to educate the players on the dangers of their involvement in such activities.

"If there are claims that low wages was a reason for players to be involved in bribery, I beg to differ because even highly paid players in teams like Juventus in Italy were said to be involved in match-fixing.

Kedah aiming to bring back glory days

Kedah's ability to beat T- Team from Terengganu and book a semifinal berth in the FA Cup is a sign that Kedah football is back to its glory days said Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak.

Azizan said the Kedah team had shown a polished display in the 2-1 win although he was slightly disappointed with import player Hamidin Mohammed since  the player had taken a slightly longer time to get his act together.

"There is no reason to look back because I do not want a repeat of the inconsistency that had plagued the team in the past," Azizan who is also the Kedah FA President told reporters when summarizing Kedah's 2-1 win over T-Team in Kuala Terengganu Tuesday night.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Sime Darby continues giant–killing feats while Terengganu progress in FA Cup

Sime Darby FC continued their giant–killing ways in the FA Cup competition to enter the semi-finals last night.

The club side defeated Johor FC 2-1 in the quarter-final second leg at the Pasir Gudang Stadium to progress 5-3 on aggregate.

Liberian international Patrick Wleh was the toast of the Premier League side after scoring a brace in their return-leg. Ismail Zakaria’s team had won the first-leg 3-2 at the Selayang Stadium on Friday.

Sime Darby FC proved that their are no pushovers in the competition after having earlier knocked out Super League side Sabah and USM FC by similar 2-0 margins in the first and second rounds respectively.

Last night, Wleh was was a constant menace to the Johor FC defenders. The Liberian gave goalkeeper Mohd Anis Faron no chance with two long range attempts in the third and 20th minutes.

Johor FC reduced the deficit through an Ahmad Fauzi Shaari penalty 13 minutes from the end.

Johor FC coach K. Devan clearly missed the service of top scorer Arthuro Bernhardt, who has found the net nine times in seven matches.

The Brazilian had to sit out a one-match suspension.

Sime Darby will play defending champions Terengganu in the two-legged semi-finals on Apr 21 and May 1.

The Turtles held Singapore outfit Lions XII to a goalless draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium in the return leg yesterday, but progressed courtesy of their 1-0 first-leg victory in Kuala Terengganu last week.

In Kuala Terengganu, Kedah booked their semi-final ticket after beating T-Team 2-1 at the Sultan Ismail Stadium.

Ghana striker Hamidan Mohammed’s brace in the 64th and 81st minutes were enough to end T-Team’s hopes of going through to the semis for the first time.

Azrul Hazran Amiludin Baki’s goal in the 68th minute proved to be little more than a consolation for the home side. The first-leg had ended in a goalless draw.

In Kota Baru, goals from Mohd Norfarhan Mohamad (18th) and Nwoha Onyekachi (72nd) allowed Kelantan to beat KL SPA 2-0 and progress to the last four with a 5-0 aggregate. The Red Warriors will take on Kedah in the semi-finals.

FAM deputy president facing disciplinary action for criticising the national team

One FA of Malaysia (FAM) bigwig got off scot-free while another is staring at disciplinary action for the same offence – criticising the national teams’ performances.

FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad escaped sanction for hitting out at the national Under-23 team’s performance in the Olympic qualifiers on March 16.

But FAM deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa, however, found himself in trouble for his comments on the poor performances of the senior national team on March 13.

FAM disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Taufik Tan Sri Abdul Razak said they found Azzuddin’s comment “not insulting”.

“The committee viewed the video on the comment and found that it was just a general comment,” Taufik told a press conference at the Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.

“We also found that Azzudin has not done anything wrong as he is entitled to comment under article 88 of FAM’s statute, which clearly states that only the FAM president and general secretary can make such statements to the media.”

In Annuar’s case, Taufik said the committee have received the FAM deputy president’s reply and decided to postpone the hearing to April 4.

Taufik clarified that Annuar has been charged with violating article 88 of the FAM’s statute and for speaking to the media on official matters.

FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had, on Feb 4, issued this order at their executive committee meeting.

“Annuar has filed his defence and requested for a postponement of the hearing, which was supposed to be held on Thursday,” said Taufik.

“We have agreed to his request for the postponement as he has to attend a national-level programme in Kelantan with the Agriculture Minister on that day.”

Meanwhile, Negri Sembilan striker Jean Emmanuel Owona has become the first foreign player to be sanctioned by FAM this year.

The Cameroonian was slapped with a two-match ban and RM3,000 fine after admitting to pulling Felda United goalkeeper Mohd Hamsani Ahmad’s ears and for pushing S. Sivanesan on the cheek in a Super League match at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on Jan 21.

However, Owona escaped a third charge of slapping Felda United’s Mohd Hardi Jaafar on the back of the head due to insufficient evidence.

Nike programme to scout for new football talents in Malaysia

Sports wear manufacturer, Nike Malaysia today launched 'The Chance' programme aimed at scouting for new talents to become promising footballers in the future.

Joan Yeoh, Country Marketing Manager of Nike Malaysia, said the programme was expected to be much more exciting this year as more young footballers were eager to try their luck to become promising players in the future.

"We expect a total of 6,000 youngsters aged 16-24 will turn up to showcase their football skill in front of the panel of judges appointed by us," she told reporters after the launching of the programme by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Secretary-General Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad at Wisma FAM here, Tuesday.

FAM general secretary found not guilty of critising the Olympic squad

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Disciplinary Committee today freed FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad from allegations of openly critising the national Olympic squad's performance through the media recently.

Chairman Datuk Taufik Abdul Razak said a study of video recordings and news reports found that Azzudin was not guilty and only issued a general statement.

 "The committee is satisfied that the statement made by Azzuddin did not contradict with article 4.5.8  of 2011 FAM Code of Ethics in which the statement did not insult the national Olympic squad and FAM as the main football body in the country.

Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah and Sime Darby progress to semi finals of FA Cup

Defending champions Terengganu are among four teams that booked tickets to the FA Cup semi-finals after the second leg quarter-final matches Tuesday night.

Terengganu are through with 1-0 aggregate at the expense of Lions XII from Singapore even though they drew goalless in the first leg quarter-final match at Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore.

In the first leg quarter-final match on Saturday, the squad of coach Mat Zan Mat Aris won 1-0 at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Kuala Terengganu. Terengganu's only goal was scored by Joseph Kalang Tie.

Neighbours Kelantan also made it after winning 2-0 over SPA FC at  Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium, Kota Bharu.

Kedah also qualified for the FA Cup semi-final after edging T-Team 2-1 at  Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Kuala Terengganu.

Premier League side Sime Darby scored an upset to reach the last four for the first time after beating Super League side Johor FC 5-3 on aggregate.

The match at  Pasir Gudang Stadium saw Sime Darby winning 2-1.

Sime Darby under coach Zakaria Ismail won 3-2 over Johor FC in the first leg quarter-final match at Selayang Municipal Council Stadium on Saturday.

The semi-finals matches on home and away basis will be played on April 21 and May 1.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Brazilian striker Arthur Henrique in red hot form for Johor FC

Seven goals in five matches have made Brazilian Arthur Henrique the envy of many as Super League outfit Johor FC battle Premier League side Sime Darby in a late afternoon first-leg FA Cup quarter-final match at the Selayang Stadium tomorrow.

The lanky Henrique, 28, scored four of the seven goals in the FA Cup matches  -- against Negri Sembilan in the first round and five-time champions Selangor in the second round - winning 2-1 and 5-4 in sudden death penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in extra-time respectively.

Henrique has scored in every match for Johor FC since he made his  debut against Sarawak in a Super League match in Pasir Gudang on Feb 14, although he was on the losing side with the East Malaysians scoring a come-from-behind 2-1 win in Pasir Gudang.

The Brazilian, who stands at 1.90m, however, has found his niche in the FA Cup -- scoring a brace against Negri in the first round. Against Selangor, he set up one and scored one as Johor FC fought back from 2-0 down despite playing with 10 men after 17 minutes. He also netted in the shootout.

Henrique  scored the fastest goal in the Super League this season when he found the net after only 35 seconds against T-Team in Johor FC's 3-1 defeat at home last Saturday.

Sime Darby knocked out  Sabah 2-0 in the first round. In the second round, they  beat another Premier League outfit USM FC (2-0) for a place in the quarter-finals.

Malaysian coach to experiment with more players to prepare for AFF Cup

K.Rajagobal's tinkering with the national squad has broadened the talent available to him for the AFF Cup title defence later this year to 66 players and more could be added in the months ahead.The national coach has defended the constant changes he has made to his squad for international matches, a run which stands at seven games without a win, and said this is necessary to cover for injuries and loss of form.

In the 2011 calendar year, Rajagobal utilised 49 players in 10 international matches with 21 of those earning their first cap before Wan Zack Haikal Wan Nor became the latest to make his senior international in the 1-1 draw with Philippines on Feb 29.

"This has been the recipe for our success. I know I have taken risks before like against Australia (which we lost 5-0) but it is only by playing against strong teams can you see the character of the players.

"Only then will I know who can play and who cannot. I cannot just be relying on the same 20 players for every game," said Rajagobal at a press conference in Shah Alam yesterday before the national team leave for Kuching today for a friendly against Sarawak tomorrow.

The Sarawak game was planned at the last minute so Rajagobal can test more players with only those not involved in this weekend's FA Cup quarter-final ties called up, including four reporting for national training for the first time.

Rajagobal's honeymoon period with Malaysian fans following the 2009 Sea Games and 2010 AFF Cup successes ended with the World Cup qualifying elimination by Singapore last year.

But the national coach called that defeat a blessing in disguise after Singapore went on to lose all six of their group stage matches, including a recent 7-1 hammering by Iraq.

"If we had gone through and lost 7-1, I know I would be 'dead' and would not be here talking to you. I knew the team were not ready for the next stage and if we had qualified for the next round and lost 5-0, 6-0, it would have served no purpose.

"We can take criticism but as long as we are moving in the right direction, success will come to the team," said Rajagobal.

Terengganu and T-Team looking for confidence boost in FA Cup

The Turtles are looking to bounce back from the midweek AFC Cup loss to Hong Kong’s Kitchee by chalking up a convincing win over Singapore Lions XII in the FA Cup quarter-final first leg at Sultan Ismail Stadium tonight.

Coach Mat Zan Mat Aris wants Terengganu to score a hatful of goals so that they can take a comfortable lead to Singapore for the return leg.

“This is, by far, our sternest test as we are the defending champions. The Lions are on song but we will not be deterred,” he said.

Terengganu’s task has been made more difficult because of several injuries.

Captain Marzuki Yusof, Reshafiq Alwi and Ahmad Nordin Alias are long-term casualties while striker Abdul Manaf Mamat is still recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the match against Kitchee.

“Striker Francis Forkey Doe, midfielders Erison Da Silva and Shukor Jusoh are also doubtful. If these three are ruled out, we may have to rely on our reserves for the match against the Lions XII,” said Mat Zan.

Another Terengganu side, T-Team, are hoping to continue their fine record against Kedah when they meet in the FA Cup quarter-finals in Alor Setar tonight.

Yunus Alif’s club side have yet to lose to Kedah since last season’s Super League, with the latest win being the 3-0 drubbing at the Sultan Ismail Stadium earlier this season.

A confident Yunus wants his men to beat Kedah by two goals in today’s first-leg.

“This is the first time we are in the Cup quarter-finals so we naturally want to do well. But it won’t be easy as Kedah are an experienced side,” he said.

Yunus said T-Team have done well this season and he aims to win at least one Cup this season.

Sime Darby beats Johor FC in first leg of quarterfinal in FA Cup

Club side Sime Darby scored a narrow 3-2 victory against Johor FC in their first leg quarterfinal match at the Selayang Municipal Stadium, here Friday.

Azmirul Azmi scored the opener for Sime Darby in the fifth minute before teammate Razali Umar Kandasamy made it 2-0 in the 38th minute.

Johor FC, however, regained their composure and managed to reduce the deficit in the 44th minute through Brazilian import Arthur Henrique Bernhardt but Sime Darby's Liberian import gave his team a comfortable cushion again with a goal in the 70th minute.

Johor FC's second goal came from Henrique Bernhardt in the 85th minute.

Their second leg match is on March 27 at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council stadium.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

KL Spa FC aiming to upset Kelantan in FA Cup

Giant killers KL SPA FC have set their sights on the scalp of Super League champions Kelantan in their FA Cup quarter-final at the National Stadium on Saturday.

The amateur team, who evolved from the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) recreational club, made history by becoming the first FAM League side to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals after edging out Cambodian club Preah Khan Reach 1-0 on March 10.

No third-tier team have ever made the quarter-finals since the tournament was opened to FAM League sides in 1994.

KL SPA coach Mohd Nizam Jamil said his players were eager to prove themselves against their much heralded opponents Kelantan.

“Football is not mathematics. There’s no guarantee that a top division side will always beat the lower teams,” Nizam said yesterday.

“In fact, Kelantan will be under pressure as they have played three games in 10 days and lost some of their players to injury. However, they have a squad of 25 quality players and can’t be taken lightly.

“We are looking forward to the experience of playing one of the best teams in the country. We have nothing to lose at this stage and will try to savour the moment.”

KL SPA, who beat Premier League side Johor MBJB 3-0 in the first round on Feb 18, are also going great guns in the FAM League. They have collected nine points from three matches to lead the nine-team league.

“We are basically amateurs, but some of our players have played with the state teams while others are from the Bukit Jalil Sports School,” said Nizam.

“Our main target is to secure promotion to the Premier League and our outing in the FA Cup will be a great exposure to the players.”

Terengganu coach upset with team's defeat to Hong Kong club in AFC Cup

East Coast giants Terengganu paid the price for complacency in the 2-0 defeat to Hong Kong champions Kitchee in the AFC Cup at the Sultan Ismail Stadium.

Coach Mat Zan Mat Aris, who was clearly upset with his team’s dismal performance, said his players were guilty of careless mistakes, especially in defence.

“Our turnover rate was unbelievable and it gave Kitchee many opportunities to attack,” he said. “We gave away the ball cheaply despite controlling the game.”

Mat Zan said the forwards also lacked focus, failing to convert countless chances.

“We could have scored two or three goals,” he said. “The team let the fans down … we let ourselves down.

“I expected more, especially after our big win over Sabah last week.”

Mat Zan did not rule out the possibility that the players were suffering from fatigue due to the hectic schedule.

Selangor rue wasted chances against Singapore

Selangor skipper Amri Yahya was left ruing what might have been had he taken his chances against Singapore Lions XII in the Super League.

His profligacy resulted in Selangor being held to a 1-1 draw by the Lions XII at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.

The Lions XII’s took the lead through striker Sufian Anuar in the 61st minute before Croatian striker Bosko Balaban equalised for the Red Giants 20 minutes later.

Amri, who was gunning for his 101st goal for Selangor, could have put his name on the scoresheet but his header was brilliantly turned away on the goal-line by defender Shakir Hamzah.

“I’m frustrated and angry with the result. If my header had gone in, the outcome would have been different,” said Amri.

“We played well, had the lion’s share of possession and created more chances … but we still ended up with a draw.

“We should have won but luck wasn’t on our side.

“Last season, we played poorly but still won some matches.

“This season we are playing good football but can’t seem to win.”

The draw saw Selangor climb up to fifth in the standings with 16 points from 11 matches.
Perak, who have a game in hand, also have 16 points but are sixth with an inferior goal difference.

The Red Giants, who were knocked out by Johor FC in the second round of the FA Cup on March 10, are now looking ahead to their next league match against Sabah on March 31.

Amri said they would continue to work harder in training ahead of their trip to the Likas Stadium.
“It won’t be easy to beat Sabah in front of their home crowd but we can do it if we buck up,” said the 31-year-old attacking midfielder.

Police detain Johor FA official on match fixing allegations

Johor police detained a Johor Football Association (Johor FA) official two days ago in connection with the recent match-fixing scandal involving football bookies in the state.

Johor CID Chief Datuk Amer Awal said the official, a woman, would be remanded for five days to facilitate investigations.

"We received a tip off from another Johor FA official on Sunday that a woman official was connected to bookies and involved in match fixing.

"The official is said to be a friend of a police officer in Johor and investigations will be conducted under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) act," he said in a statement here Wednesday.

Monday, 19 March 2012

FAM deputy president issued show-cause letter over comments against national team

Tan Sri Annuar Musa is prepared to defend himself against charges of violating the FA of Malaysia's disciplinary code over his critical comments against K. Rajagobal's national team earlier this week. 

The FAM deputy president's candid comments on Monday about the poor performances of the national team have  landed him in trouble with FAM's disciplinary board, who will meet on March 29 over the charges against Annuar.

Annuar, who claimed he has yet to be notified officially of the charges, said he gave an honest appraisal of the national team when responding to a journalist's question.

"If someone asks for my opinion, even now, I will give it. I said I am not happy with the level of performance of our national team. To say otherwise would be dishonest.

"It is important for our national team to show continuous improvement and raise the performance to another level. This task is not just mine but for everyone associated with football including FAM.

"So to issue a showcase letter, which I have no knowledge about other than what you are telling me, when I am responding to a question by a journalist, will make us a laughing stock," said Annuar after the Universiti Teknologi Mara Sports Awards ceremony in Shah Alam on Friday.

Earlier on Friday, FAM general secretary Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed a showcause letter had been sent to Annuar, who is also the Kelantan FA president, to explain his comments.

"There has been a violation of statutes and disciplinary code and a show cause letter has been sent to Tan Sri (Annuar) on Friday.

"The disciplinary committee, which is an independent board with no conflicts of interest, will meet on March 29 to hear the charges," Azzuddin told Astro Arena while adding that Annuar has a week to reply.

Annuar said he stands by his comments and will continue to work to improve the level of football in the country.

"The level of football in our country is still very low. There is much to be done by FAM and myself and other interested parties such as the state FAs. We should not feel too proud with what we have achieved," said Annuar in reference to the 2010 AFF Cup title and consecutive Sea Games gold medals.

Kelantan retain lead while Terengganu continue chase in Super League

Kelantan defeated Perak 2-0 yesterday to maintain their three-point lead at the top of the Super League standings while Selangor and Terengganu impressed with convincing victories.

Defender Mohd Daudsu Jamaluddin scored after 12 minutes before Zairul Fitree Ishak added Kelantan's second in the 29th minute in Ipoh.

In the Klang Valley derby, Selangor overcame a resilient Kuala Lumpur   3-0 in Bukit Jali.

After a goalless first half, Bosko Balaban broke the deadlock when he headed in unchallenged at the far post for his third goal of the season in the 57th minute from Razman Roslan's cross.

P. Gunalan made it 2-0 with an overhead kick four minutes later before Amirulhadi Zainal got the third with a long-range strike in stoppage time.

Francis Forkey Doe's hat-trick earned Terengganu a 6-3 victory over Sabah in Kuala Terengganu.

The Liberian striker scored in the 13th, 15th and 78th minutes while Ashaari Samsuddin (fifth), Manaf Mamat (44th) and Joseph Kallang Tie (80th) added the other goals.

Sabah replied through Zainizam Marjan (35th), Brendan Gan (45th) and Rozaimi Abdul Rahman (68th).

In Kuching, Singapore's LionsXII edged Sarawak 1-0 in a match which was delayed 10 minutes in the first half for faulty flood lights.

Captain Shahril Ishak scored from a penalty after Sarawak defender Yosri Derma Raju elbowed him in the 73rd minute.

Terengganu lead LionsXII on goals difference with both teams on par with 20 points.

Hong Kong club Kitchee worried over Terengganu's pitch in AFC Cup

Francis Doe, the hot weather and an uneven pitch have got Hong Kong's Kitchee head coach Josep Gombau alittle worried ahead of their AFC Cup Group F match against Terengganu at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow.

The Spaniard, who was at the stadium with his players when Doe scored a hat-trick for Terengganu in their 6-3 home league win over Sabah on Saturday, said the Liberian striker is skillful enough to pose a real threat to the Hong Kong First Division leaders.

"We saw enough to know that Terengganu are a dangerous team when going forward and since we are also an attacking team, we expect the match on Tuesday (tomorrow) will be an explosive and high-scoring one," Gambau said when met yesterday.

Gombau, who arrived with his team in Kuala Terengganu on Friday, said apart from Doe, his players will also have to worry about the hot weather and the uneven pitch.

"It's about 17 degrees Celcius in Hong Kong at this time of year but here we notice the temperature rises to above 30 degrees during the day and we are going to play in the afternoon.

"We also noticed that the stadium pitch is not that good unlike what we are used to back home and that may just give the home side an upper hand although I still think that the match is going to be closely contested," he said.

The coach said his team had not been training well as the field provided for the team is sub-standard at best.

"We have decided to move our practice session today (yesterday) to the hockey stadium in town as the artificial pitch there is more suitable for us to train.

"But make no mistake, regardless of the conditions we plan to go back with three points," said Gombau, who steered his team to a 3-1 home win over Singapore's Tampines Rovers in the opening round match.

Meanwhile, Terengganu coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said the convincing win over Sabah might just be the tonic needed by his team to secure their second AFC Cup win.

"All this while our wins have always been by a single-goal but last (Saturday) night, we proved that we can win big as well and, hopefully, we will be able to do it again against Kitchee.

"Not many expected us to beat Song Lam Nghe An in Vietnam in the opening round but we did it away from home and this time we are going to take full advantage of playing at home," he said.

Mat Zan confirmed that first choice goalkeeper Sarbinee Allawee has recovered from his groin injury and is likely to start against Kitchee.

Malaysian league teams to play friendly matches against Indonesian teams

A series of friendly games to increase the rapport between Malaysian and Indonesian football teams will kick off on Sunday when Malaysia Cup champions Negri Sembilan hosts Persebaya at the Paroi Stadium.

Indonesian Premier League club Persebaya, who have already played Malaysian opposition once this season, beating Super League champions Kelantan 4-3 on aggregate in December, will host the return leg in Surabaya on May 2.

Besides Negri and Persebaya, other matches will involve Perak against Semen Padang on April 22 in Ipoh and May 1 in Padang and between FA Cup winners Terengganu and PSM Makassar on June 10 in Kuala Terengganu and July 18 in Makassar.

Organisers Broadway Media are also planning to have Selangor play Arema while Kelantan have also been pencilled in for another match against an opposition to be determined.

The sixth match-up in the series will involve either Sabah, Sarawak or one of the four clubs in the Super League -- Johor FC, T-Team, Felda United and PKNS.

Broadway Media executive chairman Datuk Syed Ahmad Khalid said the series is intended to revive domestic football in Malaysia by getting fans to fill  venues when the Indonesian teams come to visit.

"Matches between Malaysian and Indonesian teams always arouse passions and it is not necessary for just English teams to come here to fill up stadiums. We believe that fans want to watch their teams take on Indonesian sides and they will be out in full force," said Syed Ahmad in a recent visit to Balai Berita to announce the planned matches.

"For now we have two ties involving Negri Sembilan and Perak confirmed and while the Terengganu and Selangor matches will be confirmed in due course."

Syed Ahmad added that Broadway Media aim to broadcast all the matches live on Astro Bintang's Channel 141.

"We hope that through this series it will help raise the profile of Malaysian domestic football. A number of teams have expressed interest in playing in this series and we hope to finalise the remaining matches soon," he said.

Selangor beat Kuala Lumpur regain form in Super League

There is nothing like a derby win to lift flagging spirits as Selangor discovered after a comfortable 3-0 win over Kuala Lumpur in Bukit Jalil on Saturday to get their Super League campaign back on track.  

Following their FA Cup exit to Johor FC, Selangor coach Irfan Bakti Abu Salim unleashed his ruthless streak by dropping goalkeeper Norazlan Razali from the match-day squad against KL.

Norazlan, who spent the previous two seasons with the city side, was held responsible for Selangor's penalty shootout loss to Johor FC last week as G. Jeevananthan came into the Selangor line-up for his first start of the season.

Jeevananthan kept his team in the game with a couple of important saves in a goalless first half to deny KL's Stanley Bernard and Zakaria Charara before Selangor upped the pace after half-time and were rewarded with goals from Bosko Balaban, P. Gunalan and Amirulhadi Zainal.

"We needed to increase the tempo in the second half and when we did that, KL could not cope with us. This is a crucial win for us, very important after a stressful period.

"As a Selangor coach, stress is part of the job because every team that play against Selangor will play to the death. It's also the first time we have beaten a team below us in the table this season and at least we are keeping pace with the leaders," said Irfan after the match at the National Stadium.

Selangor moved up one spot to sixth but are still seven points behind leaders Kelantan and four adrift of Terengganu and Singapore LionsXII, who they meet in a fixture brought forward to tomorrow at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

"We have to guard against complacency, the team took it easy after going 2-0 up. It is exactly what happened against Johor FC when we were also two-up. I hope with the two suspended players back, we will be able to improve on our performance when we play LionsXII," added Irfan, referring to defenders Ramez Dayoub and Bunyamin Umar.

For KL, it is a tenth game without a win in the league and a raging coach Razip Ismail gave his players a shelling in the dressing roon after the game as the city side collapsed after a composed first-half display.

"Which teams go ten games without a win? This is unacceptable and I told them that," said Razip. "The same mistakes keep happening. The first two goals should have been prevented but the defenders were nowhere to be seen.

"It's very frustrating because we did well in the first half and I told them Selangor would come at us. They needed to keep their composure but let their heads drop after the first goal."

Terengganu get big win over Sabah in Super League

Terengganu regained their No. 2 spot in the Super League after an exhilarating 6-3 win over Sabah at the Sultan Ismail Stadium in Kuala Terengganu last night.

The handsome win helped the Turtles move a spot above Lions XII, who edged Sarawak 1-0 in Kuching, on goal difference. Both teams are level on points at 20.

Liberian hitman Francis Doe was the toast of Terengganu when he fired a hat-trick in the ninth, 13th and 77th minutes.

Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin (4th), Abdul Manaf Mamat (42nd) and Joseph Kallang Tie (89th) were also on target for Terengganu.

Sabah replied through Zainizam Marjan (33rd), Brendan Gan (44th) and Mohd Rozaimi Rahman (64th).

Kelantan stayed on top of the league with 23 points after a 2-0 win over Perak 2-0 in Ipoh with goals from Mohd Daudsu Jamaluddin (11th) and Zairul Fitree Ishak (25th).

Selangor prevailed in the Klang Valley derby clash with Kuala Lumpur with a 3-0 win at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Bosko Balaban (58th), P. Gunalan (62nd) and Amirulhadi Zainal (90th) scored for the Red Giants.

Malaysian coach Rajagopal to include new players for friendly against Sarawak

Pahang hotshot Mohd Azamuddin Akil is among the national team’s recruits for the friendly against Sarawak in Kuching on March 24.

The 26-year-old from Kuala Lipis has been in top form for Pahang, having scored seven goals in the Premier League.

National coach Datuk K. Rajagopal is preparing the team for the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championship in November. 

He has called up 24 players and left out some of the regulars to allow them to focus on their FA Cup quarter-final commitments with their respective teams.

The other newcomers in the national team are Shahruddin Yakup, Alto Linus (Sabah); Mohd Afiq Azmi (KL); Venice Delphi (Armed Forces); Mohd Zulharis Mohd Nor and Mohd Fauzan Dzulkifli (PKNS). 

Liberian striker Francis Doe scores hattrick as Terengganu thrash Sabah in Super League

After unconvincing performances and slim wins this season, Terengganu finally hit top gear by demolishing Sabah 6-3 at the Sultan Ismail Stadium on Saturday night.

The handsome win helped the Turtles move a spot above Lions XII, who edged Sarawak 1-0 in Kuching, on goal difference. Both teams are level on 20 points.

Liberian hitman Francis Doe was the toast of Terengganu when he fired a hat-trick in the ninth, 13th and 77th minutes. Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin (fourth), Abdul Manaf Mamat (42nd) and Joseph Kallang Tie (89th) added a goal each for the home team. Sabah replied through Zainizam Marjan (33rd), Brendan Gan (44th) and Mohd Rozaimi Rahman (64th).

Coach Mat Zan Mat Aris said his players have finally gelled together as a team.

“I have only recently assumed the role as coach this season … and of course, the players must adapt to my style of training compared to the previous coach Irfan (Bakti). 

“We have new players and they need time to gel but the big win showed what we can accomplish when we are in sync with each other,” he said.

Mat Zan said the performance against Sabah would prove the team’s detractors wrong and confirmed Terengganu’s status as genuine title contenders.

“We managed the big win without our main players such as captain Marzuki Yusof, Ahmad Nordin Alias and Reeshafiq Alwi. We are on a good run and the players are improving game by game,” he said.

However, Mat Zan conceded the team’s attacking display left big spaces for the opponent to exploit, citing Sabah’s three-goal reply.

“We are far from being at our best as our defence must be strong as well. 

“We must convert every chance we get and shore up our defence,” he said.

On the performance of Kallang Tie, who rarely starts for the Turtles this season after being one of the key players in the team’s triumph last season, Mat Zan said he was impressed by the Sarawakian winger and he insisted there was always an opportunity for him to be a regular in the first team.

“Jo (Kallang) is a very good player … he just have to prove his capabilities whenever we called upon him to deliver. 

“I am not ruling out the possibility that he can regain his starting position in the team,” he said.

Mat Zan added that the big win was the right motivation needed for the upcoming AFC Cup match against Hong Kong side Kitchee in Kuala Terengganu tomorrow.

“We will change our game plan against Kitchee … that is for sure,” he said.

Olympic squad draw with Albirex Niigata in Singapore league

The Harimau Muda boys failed to keep up their momentum in the Singapore League (S-League) when they were held to a goalless draw by Albirex Niigata FC at the Yishun Stadium yesterday.

The national Under-23 side, who had made a bright start by winning their opening two matches against Gombak United (2-0) and Tanjong Pagar United FC (3-0), had to be content with a point in their third match.

Head coach Ong Kim Swee said the boys were a spent force and barely had enough rest to recover from their last group match against Syria in the Asian Zone Olympic qualifiers, which they lost 0-3 to Jordan on Wednesday.

“It was difficult for my boys to cope with today’s match. We had barely 48 hours of rest due to the time zone difference travelling from Jordan. 

“Despite the jet-lag, the boys gave everything to earn a point. The good thing is that we have not conceded a goal in three matches,” said Kim Swee, whose boys will face Brunei DPMM FC next at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Thursday.

The Harimau Muda, with seven points, are fifth in the 13-team league.

Pahang beat Kedah to win Charity Shield in Minister of Education League Cup

SMK Seberang Temerloh of Pahang lifted the Charity Shield when they edged SMK Tunku Anum of Kedah 3-2 in the curtain raiser to the Minister of Education League (MELC)-100PLUS Cup football competition in Gambang yesterday.

Mohd Shahrul was the toast of SMK Seberang Temerloh when he fired a brace, including the winning goal in the 65th minute after both teams were tied 2-2. 

Shahrul had his name on the score sheet earlier in the 23rd minute while Shahibul Qayyum Fadhillah netted the other goal in the 19th minute.

SMK Tunku Anum replied through Mazlan Mohd (sixth) and Mohd Firdaus Ismail (35th).

Sarawak-Singapore match marred by unhappy fans

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) will wait for the match commissioner's report before making any comments on the match between Sarawak and the Lions XII (Singapore) at the State Stadium in Kuching last night.

The Super League match between Sarawak and the Lions which saw the Singapore outfit win 1-0, was said to have been marred by fans who threw objects and fireworks onto the field as a mark of protest against the match referee who was said to be bias.

FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said the FAM would not be able to take any action before receiving the match commissioner's report.

Kelantan beat Perak to remain top in Super League

Kelantan tightened their grip at the top of the Super League table with a 2-0 win over Perak at the Perak Stadium in Ipoh, Saturday night.

The win enabled Kelantan under the tutelage of Bojan Hodak to collect 23 points from 10 matches.

Lions XII plummeted from the second spot due to goal difference despite winning by a solitary goal over Sarawak at the State Stadium in Kuching with the goal scored by captain Shahril Ishak in the 72nd minute.

Elsewhere, Selangor beat Kuala Lumpur 3-0 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

Negeri Sembilan beat Kedah 2-1 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi and T-Team upset Johor FC 3-1 at the Pasir Gudang Municipal Council Stadium.

Armed Forces draw with MP Muar but regain lead in Premier League

Armed  Forces (ATM) remained in the lead of the Premier League although they only managed a 2-2 draw against MP Muar at the Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Muar Friday.

Coach B. Sathianathan's soldiers are with 22 points after today's match, two  points more than nearest challengers Pahang.

At the Tuanku Abdul Rahman in Paroi, Police played to a 1-1 draw against  Sime Darby with Patrick Ronaldinho putting Sime Darby ahead in the 2nd minute.

Elsewhere, USM FC edged Johor 2-1 at USM's Athletics Stadium in Penang,  NS Betaria edged Harimau Muda B 3-2 at the Hang Tuah Stadium in Melaka (afternoon match) while at the Selayang Stadium, Pos Malaysia were held to a 1-1 draw by Pahang.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Kedah coach Wan Jamak have no sentiments against former team Negeri Sembilan

Sentiments will be put aside when Kedah coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan plots the downfall of his former team Negeri Sembilan on his first return to the Paroi Stadium since his sacking last year.

With Negeri on a four-match winless run, today's Super League match provides Wan Jamak the chance to extend a resurgent Kedah's six-match unbeaten streak despite having several key players out through injury.

Wan Jamak was given the boot by Negeri after a poor start to the 2011 season and replaced by former Kedah coach Azraai Khor Abdullah who then led the side to Malaysia Cup glory.

"Moving from one team to another is a part and parcel of professional football. As a professional, my only focus is on ensuring Kedah wins tomorrow's (today) match.

"As they say the ball is round and may the best team win," said Wan Jamak, who declined the opportunity to reflect on his time at Negeri where he won the Malaysia Cup in 2009 and the FA Cup in 2010.

Kedah face a number of injury problems with Fauzi Nan, Abdul Latif Suhaimi and Ahmad Basri Wahid ruled out with ligament injuries while captain Baddrol Baktiar and Amar Rohidan are struggling with knee and thigh injuries respectively.

But Kedah have not lost since Wan Jamak returned from a seven-match ban imposed by FA of Malaysia last season for criticism of match officials and reached the FA Cup quarter-finals last week after beating neighbours Perlis 3-2 in Alor Star.

Kedah's improved form also can be attributed to the signing of Frenchman Abdulfatah Safi who has scored twice already since his signing along with Hamidan Mohammed of Ghana in place of Brazilians Danilo Vivaldo and Daniel Baroni last month.

The Ghanaian however appears to be living on borrowed time after being warned to start scoring.

"I have given Hamidan a stern warning to buck up. He has continuously failed to show a good performance. This is not the time for me to teach him how to score goals because if he came here as an import with a certain status, he should be able to show it," said Wan Jamak.

Negeri, who have not won since beating T-Team 2 -1 in Paroi on Feb 8, will have skipped Norhafiz Zamani Misbah back in defence after his absence through injury was sorely felt in a 2-1 defeat at Kelantan in their last outing.

Terengganu get benefits from many sponsors

The Turtles have attracted more than RM1mil in sponsorship this season.

The latest to lend their support to the Terengganu FA is telecommunication-prepaid provider Happy, who signed a one-year sponsorship deal.

Terengganu FA president Datuk Che Mat Jusoh said the support shown by Happy would help in the development of football in the state.

He said happy was the seventh sponsor of the Turtles this season after Specs, which contributed RM300,000, Top IT (RM250,000), Zaid Enterprise (RM50,000), Ekspress Perdana (RM50,000) and TFC.

“Our main sponsor is the state government but having others on board will certainly boost the morale of the team. Sponsors are important as their support is an indication of confidence in the team,” he said after signing the agreement between Terengganu FA and Happy at the Sultan Ismail Stadium here recently.

Meanwhile, four key players are expected to be out of action for the Super League match against Sabah today.

Che Mat said skipper Marzuki Yusof, Mohd Muhaimin Omar, Ahmad Nordin Alias and Reeshafiq Alwi have yet to recover from injuries.

Che Mat said the absence of the quartet would give youngsters Muslim Ahmad and Mohd Shukur Jusoh a chance to prove their worth.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Selangor striker Surendren determined to prove his worth

The Super League has almost reached the half-way mark but for Selangor striker R. Surendren, the season has only just begun.

The 29-year-old football nomad is expected to start for the first time after suffering a dislocated shoulder during pre-season.

“I had a brief taste of action in the FA Cup match against Johor FC last week. I came on for the last 10 minutes or so. But I’m fully fit now and ready to help put Selangor back in contention for the Super League title,” declared a spirited Surendren ahead of the Klang Valley derby against Kuala Lumpur at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The Red Giants have not had a smooth journey in their campaign so far. Coach Irfan Bakti’s men are currently in eighth spot with 12 points from nine matches while their FA Cup campaign ended in the second round after going down to Johor FC 5-4 in the sudden-death penalty shootout last week.

Surendren said Selangor have always been top contenders and will remain so this season.

“We are only eight points behind leaders Kelantan. A string of good results should see us among the top three in no time,” said an optimistic Surendren, who is expected to partner Croatian Bosko Balaban upfront against KL.

“I’m raring to see action after such a long lay off. I feel comfortable playing with Bosko.

Hopefully, we will be able to deliver the goods,” said Surendren, who played a key role in the Red Giants’ treble success — Charity Shield, FA Cup and Super League — in 2009. 

He also bagged more than a dozen goals for Selangor and scored the winner in their 2-1 win over Negri Sembilan in the Charity Shield match in 2010.

The Selangor forward line has been badly hit ever since Mohd Safee Sali left to join Indonesian Super League (ISL) outfit Pelita Jaya FC last February.

Although Surendren has yet to start for the Red Giants this season, he could forge a new partnership with Balaban, who has two goals to his credit.

Skipper Mohd Amri Yahyah was moved upfront following Surendren’s injury but the other strikers like Wan Mohd Hoesne Wan Hussain and Famirul Asraf Sayuti are inexperienced. 

Selangor have also had to rely on their attacking midfielders like Mohd Safiq Rahim Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal, Mohd Fitri Shazwan Raduwan, Azidan Sarudin and K. Solihin to lend support up front.

Kedah coach Wan Jamak unhappy with poor form of Ghana striker Hamidan

Kedah  coach Wan Jamak Wan Hassan has issued a stern warning to his Ghana import, Hamidan Mohammed, who has not lived up to expectations in the M-League.

Wan Jamak issued an ultimatum to Hamidan to prove his worth during their Super League match against Negeri Sembilan on Saturday or incur his wrath.

The former Johor, Negeri Sembilan and national coach said Hamidan has yet to find his footing  and establish himself as a player who came with credentials.

"I have given Hamidan a stern warning to buck and play the role of back-up striker effectively.

He has continuously failed to show a good performance. This is not the time for me to teach him how to score goals because if he came here as an import with a certain status, he should be able to show it," he said here today.

He added that the warning was not to add pressure on Hamidan but merely want the player to raise his game, reduce the mistakes and assist the Kedah team to win matches.