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Alarming lack of talented juniors
Published on: Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah President Cup team manager Azman Mastar said there is an urgent need to have a well planned football programme so that real talents can be identified from the grassroots level.

"There are certainly not many very outstanding players in our junior squad at the moment and it is alarming.

We must have a system that can help to develop our players from young not just on their skills but also on their attitude so that it could result in a steady stream of young disciplined talents flowing into our senior team."

The former State Razak Cup captain said this following the juniors' disastrous season which ended with a 2-0 defeat to PKNP on Monday.

The loss was the team's 10th of the season. They only managed two wins that were against bottom club team Armed Forces, and they also drew six to finish second from bottom in Group B with only 12 points collected from 18 matches played.

"It is disappointing to see the State junior team struggle in the league. I was made to understand that the team started in a positive mood as some of the players who did very well to finish third in the Kuching Sukma Games last year were still with the team.

"I did not know what really went wrong as I was only called in half way through the season and from my observation, I can see most of them are hard working and some are good and some are not so good.

"Few are very good but have disciplinary issues and that really let the team down. It should be an honour to play for the State, but sadly players nowadays tend to take things for granted unlike players from our era."

He said he is preparing a report on the team's overall performance to the management and will make some recommendations as well.

He also thank President Datuk Seri Musa Aman for his trust in him to take over the manager's post from Datuk Juil Nuatim who was assigned to manage the senior team.

"I must say a very big thank you to our Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman who is also Safa President for giving me the chance to manage the team. He has done a wonderful job to try to develop the sport and was always very concerned on our performance."

He was also glad to see the presence of former greats such as Datuk James Wong, Datuk Hassan Sani, Matlan Marjan and former coach Stanley Chew during home matches this season.

"It was very nice of them to come and give their support. Their observations and comments are very important to us because they have the experience and talent to see the differences in the players."

Azman, who is also the Deputy President of Sabah Former Football Players Association (PBBPS) added that the association led by James did their part by organising an Under-21 football tournament throughout the district which started in Sandakan last month.

"We are using a holistic approach. Apart from playing football, youths can also build good self-discipline through the championship which is in line with the aspiration of Datuk Seri Musa Aman who wanted to see the sport flourish in the State.

"The tournament initiated by us is to complement Safa's effort in developing the sport where we will propose talents identified in the competition by our panel of selectors such as Stanley Chew, Datuk James Wong, Datuk Hassan Sani, Matlan Marjan, Razali Zinin, Yahya Datuk Kasim, Malim Surat and Azah Azerin to them."

He said the next tournament will be held in Tawau on August 20. - GL Oh

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