Benedict (third from left)
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 – Sabah football has got off to a messy start to the new season for now – following the change of leadership in the FA with political links and with that came changes in the management – at all levels.
Those who had accepted jobs and had already signed appointment letters deemed as a legal document are now left in a lurch after being told that the letter is not valid. Expect a legal battle to start between the two parties.
Sabah deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (who is also the UMNO chief) is the present acting president of the Sabah FA – taking over the post from Datuk Abdul Rahman Zakaria.
The new leadership revamped the entire structure of Sabah FC which had Datuk Verdon Bahanda as its chief executive officer.
Verdon subsequently resigned from his post when Bung Moktar came into power.
During Verdon’s short lived tenure as the CEO of Sabah FC, a new head coach was appointed and he was Lucas Kalang Laeng who holds a Pro A license.
The Sarawakian had already signed a one year contract that runs through from Dec 1, 2020 to Nov 30, 2021.
Our reports on Dec 1 2020.

However the turn of events in Sabah has left everything topsy-turvy and former Indonesian international Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto, who was the head coach last season, was reappointed to the post in place of Lucas while former Malaysia Cupper, Burhan Ajui is his assistant.

Sabah FC’s new CEO is businessman Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan who is also the state Bersatu Information Chief.
There is also no place Jelius Ating, who was assistant coach last season, as the new team manager this year. The new manager is Ahmad Marzuki Nasir.
Sabah FA/FC’s new secretary-general Benedict Asmat confirmed in a telephone interview from Kota Kinabalu of the changes in the set-up.
”Kurniawan is already in town. He is expected to name the new team in the next couple of days. Apart from the foreign quota the rest of the squad will come from local players. There is plenty of football talent in Sabah and we want to expose them,” said Benedict.
”We cannot afford to hire players from the peninsula¬† as they are too costly for us.”
For the record Sabah finished 10th in the Super League last season and narrowly missed relegation.
What happens next is left to be seen. For now it is dreams crushed and hopes dashed for names like Lucas, Jelius and Verdon.

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