by Abdul Hakim Bujang firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted on September 12, 2011, Monday
KUCHING: Although mathematically Sarawak is still having the chance to qualify for Malaysia Cup quarterfinal, the team management is already looking beyond the tournament.
“To me, here we are able to see the crop of players that we have in our team against other teams from Super League, and there is very big gap in quality of players,” admitted Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) president, Datu Sudarsono Osman.
Sudarsono said the telling results from Malaysia Cup were very good indication of what need to be done for next season when Sarawak play in Super League.
Sarawak played twice against Super League team thus far and lost both game – 0-2 to Kelantan at home and 0-1 to KL Felda United.
Those knowing Malaysia football will have no complaint because Sarawak is losing to two team blessed with finest players in Super League.
Kelantan is the richest team in Malaysia that never fail to fill up its stadium to the capacity – powered by the best talent in the country and have been winning Malaysia Cup last year, losing to Terengganu in FA Cup and won Super League in the just concluded season.
KL Felda United is parading current and former Malaysia players from top to bottom – its goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders and strikers – played for Malaysia in recent years at various levels.
Whereas our next rival, Johor FC was the losing finalist of Malaysia Cup last year – leading 1-0 at one point against Kelantan on Saturday before eventually losing 1-2 away in Kota Bahru to give defending champion Kelantan a scare.
Sudarsono was being realistic when saying Malaysia Cup was an eye opener for the young Sarawak players that were plucked from the local football development programme jointly carried out by FAS and Education Department of Sarawak – one of them is Ashri Chuchu.
“This is a learning experience for the players and what is more important for the management and coach to assess what need to be done for next season in Super League,” he told Borneo Post.
He said the result from the two games and glaring differences in players quality more or less showed the management “what it take to be there” in Super League.
Sarawak he stressed clearly lacked the much needed leadership in the field that were once on the shoulder of Mohd Ali Sapiee or Abdul Jalil Ramli – having nobody in command or being above to motivate the team.
“Some investment needs to be done,” he said, stressing that Sarawak would be recruiting big names or A-rated players from Super League who are willing to be based in Kuching and foreign imports.
Players who were not able to read between the lines would continue to think that the Crocs management were satisfied with their achievement to play in Super League next season.
TO BE A RESPECTED
Unknown to them, Sarawak management want to become serious contender in Super League and not mere participant.
Sarawak want to earn the respect and send shiver to the opponent like what they used to do when winning Malaysia top league under Alan Vest by fielding local talents with helps from the likes of David Evan, John Hunter, Alistair Edwards, Shamsurin Abdul Rahman, Ong Kim Swee and Mazlan Abdul Wahed.
Based on the indication given by Sarawak manager cum chief coach Robert Alberts, Crocs lacked depth and quality players to compete at higher level.
Unlike A-Rated players, average team members in the squad may not be able to undergo strenuous professional training required by top league footballers.
At worst their limited thinking ability may not be able to absorb tactical strategy or further develop it when the need arise due to changing climate or playing difficulties arriving from heavy rain or below par playing surface.
The sarcasm by ASTRO Arena anchor that Sarawak were very successful in defending but give the match away to a lame goal from KL Felda United may not be music in Crocs fans ears.
MUCH NEEDED FAN SUPPORT
Those who have long tolerated the far from friendly host at least have reason to continue supporting Sarawak on Tuesday by coming to State Stadium on when we played against Johor FC.
Win, lose or draw – doesn’t really matter because the current young squad need the morale booster from Sarawakian.
Let them know that the fans will be there for them next season to achieve Sarawak ambitious plan of seriously becoming a challenger in Super League.
With new players – A-Rated players as stressed by FAS boss and hopefully highest quality foreign imports that we can afford.
Let the Sarawak Spirit prevail on September 13 – another Tuesday – an insult for low rated team that do not deserve a Saturday night home game!
We are not born loser, and let show the visitors that Sarawak deserve respect.