Sunday, 9 February 2014

New goalie helps Penang beat UITM in Premier League

Debutant goalkeeper Khairul Amri Sallehuddin will retain his starting place for Penang after winning praises in the Panthers’ 1-0 Premier League win over UiTM FC.

The 24-year-old Khairul, Perak’s second choice custodian last year, was making his first appearance in the Panthers’ starting 11 in place of the out-of-favour G. Jeevananthan.

Jeeva, the former Selangor and Armed Forces goalkeeper, received plenty of flak from fans over his performance in the 5-1 thrashing by Police a fortnight ago.

Khairul put in a solid shift against the university team at the City Stadium on Friday, and delivered a clean sheet for Penang.

“I will keep faith with Khairul for our next match against Perlis on Monday. He was confident between the posts and did enough to convince me that he deserves his starting place,” said Penang coach K. Devan.

“I made several changes, especially in defence, to face UiTM. There was a marked improvement in the performance but we still lived dangerously in the second half, after failing to get the second goal to kill off the tie. I will likely maintain this winning line-up for our next game.”

South Korean midfielder Lee Kil-hoon scored the only goal of the match from a freekick in the 11th minute. The win helped the islanders move up to fifth with six points from three games and, more importantly, get over the demoralising defeat against Police.

“I consider our heavy loss against Police as a one-off bad performance. It is not fair to single out one or two players for criticism as the entire team played badly that day.

“By bouncing back against UiTM, we put the defeat behind us and restored the team’s confidence. This win is for the fans and the FAP (Football Association of Penang), who gave us full support when we were down,” said Devan.

Besides Khairul, another player who featured the full 90 minutes for the first time was Angolan forward Titi Buengo.

Although the towering striker failed to score, Devan was happy with Buengo’s contribution.

“I did not start Titi before this as he was not match fit when he joined us. He was brilliant against UiTM, especially in the first half. He looked tired in the final 20 minutes but I’m confident he’ll get better with more matches under his belt.”

For UiTM, the first defeat in three matches leaves them in seventh spot on four points. They are now five points behind leaders Police, who maintained their 100% start to the season with a 1-0 home win over Sabah.

Sabah are one of three teams, together with DRB-Hicom and Perlis, without any points after three rounds of Premier League matches.

Police beat Sabah to remain top of Premier League

Police remain top of the Premier League after left-back Sabre Mat Abu scored the only goal of the match three minutes after the break in a 1-0 win over Sabah at the Petaling Jaya Stadium.

Negri Sembilan moved into second place after beating Felda United 2-1 in Paroi thanks to goals by Jean-Emmanuel Owona with a free-kick in the 21st minute and S. Sivanesan (32nd) while Indra Putra Mahayuddin replied for Felda in the 68th.

Sarawak beat PKNS to maintain good form

Sarawak shot to the top of the Super League for a while after beating PKNS 2-0 as a late Hafiz Kamal goal gave Malaysia Cup champions Pahang a 3-2 win over Darul Ta'zim  in Kuantan yesterday.

Promoted side Sarawak joined six teams on six points to lead only on goals scored after fans flooded the Selayang Stadium and saw their team go 2-0 up inside 16 minutes thanks to two long throw-ins by Ronny Harun.

Milorad Janjus headed in the first in the ninth minute past an unsighted PKNS goalkeeper Zamir Selamat before Gabor Gyepes repeated the trick seven minutes later.

Joseph Kalang Tie thought he made it 3-0 when he had the ball in the net in the 49th minute but it was correctly ruled out when he handled it in the process.

Janjus then missed a sitter, blazing over the bar when Zamir could only parry Ashru Chuchu's shot before the goalkeeper denied the Serbian from point-blank range.

At the other end, Fadzley Rahim's fingertips steered PKNS hot-shot Patrick Wleh's drive wide before Gyepes' goalline clearance denied the Liberian.

Fadzley tipped Khairu Azrin Razali's looping header against the bar in the 82nd minute to deny PKNS a consolation.

Fans were segregated by barbed wire at the Darulmakmur Stadium as star-studded Darul Ta'zim's winless run in the league extended to three matches.

Hafiz struck deep into stoppage-time when he connected to Azidan Sarudin's free-kick to send the home fans wild.

Argentinian Matias Conti gave Pahang the lead in the 13th minute when he capitalised on a mix up in the visitors' defence to slot the ball past on-rushing goalkeeper Norazlan Razali.

Pahang almost made it 2-0 seven minutes later when Fauzi Roslan's header rattled the Darul Ta'zim crossbar, a miss which proved costly as Pablo Aimar turned in Amri Yahyah's pass for the equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

However, Fauzi Roslan restored the lead for Pahang two minutes into the second half before substitute Safee Sali drew the visitors level with his first goal of the season in the 73rd minute.

T-Team gives statements to Police over assault

Terengganu police have recorded statements from 17 officials and players from T-Team over the incident at the Larkin Stadium on Feb 1.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Jamshah Mustapa said the statements awould be submitted to Bukit Aman for further investigations.

“We recorded statements from those in Terengganu as soon as we received a report from the players and the management of the team,” he told reporters after launching a motorcycle patrol unit (URB) here on Sunday.

Last Sunday, T-Team striker Evaldo Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo and chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters.

Goncalves alleged that he was punched in the nose by a top Johor FA official while Impagliazzo claimed he was

kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel during the FA Cup second-round match, As a result T-Team abandoned the match, refusing to come out after half-time, citing “security reasons”.

On Monday, the Johor Football Association (JFA) also lodged a police report alleging JDT coach Cesar Jimenez was assaulted by a fitness coach and a striker from T-Team.

On Thursday, JDT were awarded a 3-0 win by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), qualifying them for the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Selangor beat Sime Darby to lead Super League

Brazilian Paulo Rangel fired Selangor to the top of the Super League standings with a brace in a 2-1 win over Sime Darby at the Selayang Stadium after falling behind to an early goal.

Perak tripped up Kelantan 2-1 in Ipoh to climb above LionsXII, who drew with Terengganu 0-0, and Darul Ta'zim while a late goal by Khairan Ezuan Razali moved T-Team off the bottom after a 2-2 draw with Armed Forces.

Selangor, smarting from Tuesday's FA Cup loss to Sarawak, fielded an unchanged line up but were penalised for poor defending after just 72 seconds when Failee Ghazli rifled in the opener from Farderin Kadir's cross.

K. Gurusamy's responded for Selangor with a shot outside the box which hit the post before Rangel grabbed the equaliser five minutes before the break after Sime Darby's defenders failed to cut out Bunyamin Umar's low cross which allowed the Brazilian time to control the ball and pick his spot.

Steve Pantelidis was ruled offside when he headed in Junior Aparecido's free-kick four minutes after the break but Rangel was on hand to head in Hadi Yahya's cross five minutes from time to top the Super League scoring charts with five goals.

Selangor went two points clear of Forces and Terengganu as Sime Darby, who only had one foreign signing in Uzbek midfielder Dilshod Sharofetdinov available, dropped to the bottom of the table with their third league defeat.

Perak continued their surprise start to the season with two youngsters scoring their goals at the Perak Stadium.

An error by Kelantan goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat in the 12th minute, when he flapped at the corner kick, allowed Ahmad Sukri Hamid to knock the ball in for his first senior goal.

Mohamed Shawky drew Kelantan level 10 minutes after the break but it was another Perak youngster, Khairul Asyraf Sahizah, who replaced Zelimir Terkes earlier, who scored with a header 12 minutes from time.

T-Team left it late to grab a point against Forces at the Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium as the action shifted to the field after last Tuesday's off-pitch incident in Johor Baru dominated headlines.

Azlan Ismail scored off a Badrul Hisyam Morris pass after 12 minutes to put T-Team ahead but a rocket by Norfazly Alias from 40 metres made it 1-1 five minutes before half-time.

Bruno Martelotto put Forces 2-1 up on the hour mark with a close-range effort from a Venice Elphi pass before T-Team goalkeeper Shahril Saari kept the host in the game when he saved Juan Manuel Arostegui's 67th-minute penalty.

Khairan then stepped up to slam in a loose ball inside the penalty box in stoppage-time to salvage a point for T-Team.

Super League champions LionsXII were held 0-0 by Terengganu at the Jalan Besar Stadium as Shahfiq Ghani coming closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half with a free-kick.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Johor Darul Takzim makes police report against T-Team

The tables have been turned as the Johor Football Association (JFA) lodged a police report alleging that Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Cesar Jimenez was assaulted by a fitness coach and a striker from Terengganu's T-Team.

In the report lodged at the Johor Baru Sentral police station on Tuesday, Jimenez alleged that he was assaulted by T-Team striker Evaldo Goncalves and fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo.

He was accompanied by Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu, a lawyer appointed by JFA , their honorary secretary Mohd Fahmy Yahya and several officials.

“We are here to accompany him (Jimenez) to lodge the report detailing that he was assaulted by the T-Team player wearing jersey No. 16 and their fitness coach," Baljit said.

According to him, Jimenez claims that he was the victim yet the facts had been twisted by T-Team and their officials.

The two teams were in the Larkin Stadium tunnel, trooping out at half-time during their FA Cup second-round clash on Saturday, with JDT leading 2-1, when the incident happened. Play was stopped when T-Team refused to come out in the second half.

”In the incident, his (Jimenez) T-shirt collar was pulled by the fitness coach (Impagliazzo) and he was also verbally abused by Impagliazzo," said Baljit.

He said the report was made under Section 323 of the Penal Code for assault and Section 506 of Criminal Code for criminal intimidation.

Similarly, Baljit said that the JFA would not hesitate to take legal action against those who were found to be spreading rumours or lies in the incident.

“We are giving our full co-operation to the police and the Football Association of Malaysia to investigate the case," he added.

Johor Baru South OCPD ACP Sulaiman Salleh confirmed the report.

On Sunday, T-Team striker Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, Impagliazzo and the club’s chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters pertaining to the incident.

The Brazilian striker Goncalves alleged that he was punched in the nose by a Johor FA top official while Impagliazzo was kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel here.

T-Team makes police reports over assault of players

T-Team have lodged police reports alleging that a top Johor FA official had assaulted two of their players and a fitness coach.

Striker Evaldo Goncalves, defender Fabio Flor de Azevado, fitness coach Stefano Impagliazzo and the club’s chief operating officer Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain lodged the reports at the Kuala Terengganu district police headquarters at 11pm on Sunday.

It is learnt that the reports were lodged to ensure “the safety of T-Team’s players” and named the “president of the Johor FA” as the perpetrator.

The reports state that Brazilian striker Goncalves was punched in the nose by the top official while Impagliazzo was kicked in the groin by the official’s escort in the Larkin Stadium tunnel when the two teams were trooping out at half-time during their FA Cup second round clash on Saturday. JDT were leading 2-1 at that time.

T-Team refused to come out for the second half and the match was abandoned.

Brazilian defender de Azevado also lodged a report claiming that he was verbally abused and threatened by the same official.

T-Team coach Azraai Khor Abdullah expressed hope that the authorities would act on the incident immediately.

“There’s nothing more we can do ... we’ll leave it to the authorities to handle it. For now, I want my players to put the incident behind them and focus on their football.

“We have a big match against Armed Forces this Saturday and I want the players to be in the right state of mind,” said Azraai, adding that team morale had not been too affected by the incident.

As for the victims, Azraai said that he understood the concern over their safety in the country.

“We cannot really stop them if they feel unsafe here. But they are good professionals and I think they will get over it,” said Azraai.

Sports Minister wants FAM to do more against corruption

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wants the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to go after the big fish as well.

He commended FAM for slapping a RM5,000 fine on the 17 Kuala Lumpur players found guilty of match-fixing but said that should not be the end of the matter.

“The players were wrong, but FAM must also act against senior officers of the Kuala Lumpur Football Association (KLFA) who exposed their players to bookies, leaving them with no choice but to co-operate,” he told reporters outside a hospital here on Tuesday after visiting a 10-year-old girl, who was slashed by her father recently.

“We will wait for further action from FAM, which should be to investigate these officers.”

On Monday, 17 players from Kuala Lumpur’s 2013 Premier League side were fined RM5,000 each by the FAM disciplinary committee.

In December, FAM had imposed life bans on five KL players and three team officials, including a kitman, for match-fixing. The eight were also fined RM20,000 each.

Khairy also called on FAM to provide any evidence they had on the bookies and officers involved to the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for further action to be taken.

“I hope for swift action once the evidence has been collected ... as we need to do this to battle corruption within the local football industry,” he said.

Malaysia not appointing Troussier

Malaysia can forget about hiring renowned coach Philippe Troussier.

Negotiations between the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the Frenchman fell through after several rounds of talks, with the last meeting held in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The FAM had wanted a new foreign coach to replace Datuk K. Rajagopal, whose contract was not renewed last December. Troussier was widely seen by many as being FAM’s first choice for the vacant coaching post.

However, all the hype came to naught following a disagreement in the terms of the contract between both parties.

It is learnt that the 58-year-old’s annual tax-free salary was supposed to be €600,000 (RM2.7mil) and that he was to be offered a three-year-deal.

The Frenchman’s deal included the hiring of his two assistants, costing FAM an additional €168,000 (RM760,000) annually.

FAM vice-president Datuk Subahan Kamal confirmed that negotiations with Troussier fell through and “we are looking for a replacement.

“We have not set a time frame to secure a new coach. This is not a busy year for the national team as we only have the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup at the end of the year,” added Subahan at Wisma FAM on Monday.

National Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee will continue to be the caretaker coach of the national team. He will handle the team’s final Asian Cup Group D qualifier against Yemen at the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on March 5.

His first duty as caretaker coach will be the friendly against the Philippines national team at the Selayang Stadium on March 1.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Ong Kim Swee calls up new players for U-23 team

National Under-23 coach (Harimau Muda A) Datuk Ong Kim Swee has called up 11 new faces to beef up the squad that will be participating in the National Premier League (NPL) in Queensland, Australia from March to August, 2014.

Kim Swee said six of them were from the Harimau Muda B squad (National Under-21) and five from the Harimau Muda C (Under-19) squad.

Apart from the 11 players, Kim Swee would also be scouting for a number of players who would be playing in the President’s Cup competition which starts next week.

“Not all will make the final squad but I want to give them ample time to adapt to the National team’s style of the play,” he told Bernama yesterday.

Kim Swee said the squad would take a two-day break for the Chinese New Year celebrations (Friday and Saturday) and resume training on Sunday.

“We do not have much time to prepare as the team will be leaving to Brisbane soon,” he said.

The Harimau Muda A squad lost a number of first choice players due to their age factor, including skipper Mohd Irfan Fazail, defender Mohd Fadhli Mohd Shas, goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan and striker Izzaq Faris Ramlan.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin had said that the team’s participation in the NPL was part of preparations to equip the squad for the challenges during the 2014 Asian Games.

Sarawak coach not happy over match schedules

Sarawak head coach Robert Alberts says that the Super League fixtures are somewhat “unfair” to local fans.

Speaking to reporters after the match against Sime Darby FC last Tuesday, he said that Sarawak did not get a fair share of Saturday home matches.

Such weekend matches, he noted, are vital for Sarawak fans, especially young fans, as they could have the next day (Sunday) as a rest day.

“We seem to have more Tuesday home matches than the ones on Saturday this year. This will make it harder for the fans as they will find difficulties to go to the stadium and support the team,” he added.

Matches on week days are seldom sold out at the Stadium Negeri as fans may choose to stay at home with the following day being a working and school day.

This is compounded by the fact that all Super League matches at Stadium Negeri kick off at 8.45pm and finish by 10.15pm or later.

There is also the added factor of distance.

It is challenging for some fans who live far from Kuching to travel to support the Crocs.

For the 2014 season, Sarawak get to play only five home matches on Saturdays, while the other six are on Tuesdays.

The two home matches played so far this season support Alberts’ observation.

The first against Kelantan on Jan 25 (Saturday) was played in front of a capacity crowd while a few empty seats were noticeable for the second against Sime Darby FC three days later on Jan 28 (Tue).

FAM gives ultimatum to Troussier to become national team coach

Philippe Troussier has been given until tomorrow to decide about his future with Malaysia and if the Frenchman declines, Ong Kim Swee will handle the national senior team on a caretaker basis for next month's international matches.

The former Japan coach made unrealistic demands in a recent three-day meeting with the FA of Malaysia (FAM) in Kuala Lumpur.
Troussier did not want FAM to subject him to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and also grant him the liberty to end his contract at any time after serving a year with full compensation.
The national body, however, did not agree to Troussier's terms but the Paris-born promised to look into the offer with his lawyers before making a decision.
"FAM did not officially say 'No' to Troussier, neither did he. The deal is not off. He has returned to Paris to speak to his lawyers and will reply to the national body on Monday (tomorrow)," said a source yesterday.
"FAM hopes Troussier will compromise and accept the offer without added clauses. It is unrealistic for coaches not to have a KPI.
"The national body would have agreed to the standard six-month compensation clause but he wanted full compensation if he leaves after one year.
"However, FAM complied to other demands pertaining the selection of players and the day-to-day operations of the team."
The former Marseille coach, who guided Japan to the 2000 Asian Cup and the last-16 of the 2002 World Cup, was initially approached by FAM through the Japan FA's recommendation.
FAM spoke with Troussier in China last year and met him again in Singapore two months ago.
In the three-day meeting, which ended on Thursday, in KL, Troussier met several FAM officials, including deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
If Troussier does not accept the offer, Kim Swee, who signed a two-year extension as national youth coach recently, will handle the senior team in next month's international matches.
Malaysia play the Philippines on March 1 in a friendly before taking on Yemen in an Asian Cup Group D qualifying match, four days later, in Abu Dhabi (neutral venue).
"Kim Swee is our option for next month's matches on a caretaker basis and if FAM does not hire a senior coach soon, the former international will prepare a team for the AFF Suzuki Cup.
"FAM will continue to scout for suitable candidates for the senior team. We have not rejected other applicants," the source added.
However, there could be a problem if FAM decides to install Kim Swee as a permanent senior coach.
The Malacca-born has already signed a new contract to handle the national Under-23 team (Young Tigers A) for the Incheon Asian Games and also oversee FAM's other youth squads -- Tigers B (Under-21), C (Under-19) and D (Under-17).

Pahang upsets Singapore while T-Team abandons match in FA Cup

The FA Cup second round match between Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) and T-Team ended abruptly at the Larkin Stadium.

It is learnt that the visiting team decided not to take to the field in the second-half, with JDT leading 2-1, as they feared for their safety.

It is also learnt that a scuffle had broken out during the break as the players and officials headed for the tunnel. Television footage also showed JDT striker Pablo Aimar involved in a heated argument with a T-Team coaching staff.

Match commissioner Zainal Mukri said he would refer the incident to the FAM competitions committee.

He also confirmed that a shouting match took place between JDT coach Cesar Jimenez and a T-Team fitness coach.

“I have yet to receive the reasons for T-Team’s decision in not coming out for the second half,” he said.

“The match will be postponed and I will also be sending the report to the FAM for further action."

JDT had taken a 2-0 lead through Argentine forward Luciano Figueroa in the 15th and 20th minutes before T-Team pulled a goal back through skipper Mohd Marzuki Yusof in the 26th minute off a freekick.

Meanwhile, Pahang created an upset of sorts when they ended Lions XII’s unbeaten home record at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Saturday.

The Singaporeans, who have been unbeaten at home since July 2012, lost 2-1 to the Elephants in the second round of the FA Cup.

Midfielder Hafiz Kamal scored from a freekick in the 50th minute before his midfield partner Azidan Sarudin struck five minutes later to end the Lions’ 22-match unbeaten home run.

Defender Safuwan Baharudin reduced the deficit off a freekick in the 85th minute but it wasn’t enough for Fandi Ahmad’s men to mount a comeback.

The Lions’ last home defeat was a 1-0 setback to Johor FC in a Super League match in July 14, 2012.

Last season, the team, under the guidance of V. Sundramoorthy, lifted the Super League crown in style by remaining undefeated at home – recording 10 wins and a draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium.