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).