Thursday, 25 August 2011

Johor's tough stand on match-fixing benefits team

Premier League outfit Johor were the first team to nip match-fixing in the bud by taking quick and firm action when they booted out four players in May, apart from taking other action to check the spread of the disease.
The four players were sacked with immediate effect after a Johor FA council meeting on May 9 found them "guilty" of match-fixing.

The reward was a top four finish which was enough to qualify for the Malaysia Cup although Johor's initial target was to finish in the top two and earn promotion to the Super League.

Drawn in Group A with Kedah, Perak and Sabah for the Malaysia Cup, the 1991 double champions are now gunning for a quarter-final berth - which means they need to finish in the top two in the group.
Team manager Datuk Aziz Sapian strongly believes his team will be the "surprise package" in the tournament.

"We have done enough to gain recognition for the team. A fourth place finish in the Premier League and a place in the Malaysia Cup is enough motivation for the team," said Aziz.

"Match-fixing nearly derailed us at one stage, but we nipped the disease in the bud and booted four players from the team. This was enough to send a strong message that we will not tolerate any nonsense and that we mean business.

"We also took other remedial solutions to stop the rot. At one stage Johor were in a good position to challenge for promotion until this disease came into the picture.

"I dare say that if we had found evidence of match-fixing earlier we would have been there at the top. But that is history now as we look forward to take Johor football to new heights. We aim to go far in the Malaysia Cup and take off from there for the new season.

"We are well prepared. Kedah, Perak and Sabah are about the same standard as Johor, so much will depend on how we fare at home.

"To be ready to face our rivals, we have played several tough friendly matches away, including some against Singapore clubs. The results have been very encouraging. We even beat Super League 'brothers' Johor FC 4-0 in a friendly. This is very motivating for a young team like Johor.

"More importantly, the players know we mean business. They are aware that we keep track of their movements and anyone caught doing the 'unwanted' will be severely dealt with. These young players now know the consequences they face if they are found doing wrong."

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