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Monday, July 16, 2001

Football Sarawak Cup - Kuching, Limbang enter semis

By Henry Siyu and Clarence Ting

KUCHING booked their semi-final ticket in style after demolishing Sibu 6-0 at Tun Zaidi Stadi-um in Sibu on Saturday night.

The City Boys won the quarter-final on an 8-0 aggregate. They won the first leg of the quarter-final 2-0 in Kuching on July 7.

Kuching who outplayed Sibu in all departments scored four goals in the first half and added another two after the interval. The City Boys drew first blood as early as in the 5th minute through a spot kick by Peter Kusai after he was brought down by Bruno Taring inside the penalty box.

The second goal was scored by Hasdi Ramli who made a perfect shot after receiving a short pass from Peter Kusai in the penalty box in the 25th minute. Barely four minutes later, Hasdi again unleashed a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty box that passed through the Sibu goalkeeper, Md. Fadeli Nawawi for Kuching's third goal.

In the 32nd minute, Louis Jakai headed home the fourth goal during a melee inside the penalty box. Throughout the first half, a toothless Sibu only managed to penetrate the visitors' defence through counter-attacks but were let down by their poor finishing.

After the interval, despite leading by four nil, Kuching were still on the aggressive note. They earned their fifth goal through well-taken free kick from the edge of penalty box by Dzulkarnain Wahab in the 80th minute. Then they began to slow down the pace of play and allowed Sibu to launch relentless raids in the last 10 minutes. Sibu pushed most of the players up front in the search for goals and left their keeper Lucas Gabriel alone in the penalty box.

Spotting that the busiest player in the field - Sibu goalkeeper - was already in the centre, one of Kuching defenders made a long pass to an unmarked Hairoll Musa who was waiting outside the penalty box. Hairoll made no mistake to lob the ball past Lucas to wrap up Kuching's 6-0 victory.

About 2,000 fans watched the one-sided match which saw the referee flashing the yellow card at three players - two Sibu players and one Kuching player. In another quarter-final match played at the Limbang Sport Stadium on Saturday, Limbang beat Sri Aman Team 5-1 to advance to the semi-final.

Limbang who lost to Sri Aman 2-3 in the first leg of the quarter-final qualified on a 7-4 aggregate.

The game saw Limbang players dominating the first half right from the first whistle. Striker Mac Dougall David headed in Lim-bang's first goal in the 9th minute.
His team-mate Joseph scored the second in 20th minute and added another goal in the 40th minute.

The first half was sealed with another goal from Mac Dougall David who beat Sri Aman goalkeeper Azwan Nasri Jubi in the 43rd minute.
The spectators went wild with the goals galore.

Limbang team manager Bra-him Hj Tawar then made several substitutions in the second half where Joseph Sia was called back to sit on the bench. Mac Bewsher David put Limbang further ahead when he scored the fifth goal in the 66th minute.

Sri Aman then tried to make a strong comeback and surged forward in numbers to find the net. But they were unable to break through the strong defence wall put up by Limbang defenders. Limbang goalkeeper Mohd Ariffin was in his element and never felt threatened.

Sri Aman striker Yusup Sam-sudin finally beat Mohd Ariffin in the 89th minute and the ball was about sailing right into the net when defender Thomas Charles Ludai jumped and blocked the ball with his hand. Referee Abang Sapani immediately gave Thomas Charles the matching order.

Yusup kicked the ball right into the left side of the net to beat Mohd Ariffin.

Source: Sarawak Tribune

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M-League - Khairul Injured


FORMER international Khairul Azman Mohd is a doubtful starter for Sabahís match against Police this Friday which will be played away.

The goalkeeper is nursing a knee injury which he aggravated during the Sabah-KL Mail on Thursday and look set to miss the trip to the Selayang Municipal Council Stadium.

Khairul told New Sabah Times Sport yesterday that he will be going for a medical on Tuesday at SMC to check on his swollen right knee.

"I will go for an x-ray. But Iím still not sure whether I will be fit in time for the Police clash. I can walk at the moment, but I feel the pain if I run," Khairul said.

"Actually, this is an old injury, but I got a knock during the KL Malay clash. It wasnít so bad at first, but after I kicked the ball several times, I started to feel the pain.

Khairul said that during the Sabah-KL Malay match, he did signal the bench for him to be replaced, adding that there must have been some misunderstanding as to why a substitution was not made immediately.

"Maybe they did not see my signal. Like any other player I also want to win the match," he said.

Khairul said he took a hard knock while challenging for the ball.

In the match, KL Malay Mail shocked the homesters when they took the lead in the 64th min through R. Surendren. Surendren easily looped the ball past the onrushing Khairul.

But Sabah managed to level the scored on the 77th min through a spot kick taken by Shahrin Majid after Henry Soimpon fouled inside the box.

Sabah then took the lead when Zainizam Marjan collected a loose ball during a melee before unleashing a powerful drive from inside the box.

But with four minutes from regulation time, KL Malay Mail leveled the score through S. Sunderís dipping shot from about 35m from the goalmouth.

It was only after that goal, Khairul was substituted.

Source: New Sabah Times

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Sunday, July 15, 2001

Promoting badminton in Brunei

By Laila Rahman

We want to promote the game of badminton in Brunei Darussalam. That is the message put across by Dato Seri Paduka Dr Awang Haji Ahmad bin Haji Jumat, the President of Brunei Darussalam National Badminton Association at a signing ceremony for local sponsors for the Brunei World Grand Prix Badminton Finals yesterday.

Also present at the signing ceremony was Professor Charoen Wattanasin, the IBF vice-president from Thailand and representatives of the five sponsors - Yayasan Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah, DST Communications Sdn Bhd, Royal Brunei Airlines, Brunei Shell Marketing Company Sdn Bhd and HSBC.

Representing Yayasan Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah was Pehin Dato Awang Haji Abas bin Haji Serdin, Pg Haji Mohd Zin bin Pg Damit (Managing Director) for DST Communications Sdn Bhd, Pg Ali bin Pg Haji Ahmad (Executive Director) for Royal Brunei Airlines, Pg Haji Mohd Yasmin bin Pg Haji Mohammad (Marketing Manager) for Brunei Shell Marketing and William Yap (Deputy Chief Executive Officer) for HSBC.

Olympic and world champions will be among the 70 participants contesting in Brunei which is only for shuttlers who qualified at the top of the ranking lists at the end of the 2000 Grand Prix circuit.

Dato Dr Awang Haji Ahmad in his speech explained that Brunei Darussalam's contribution in this prestigious event have indicated that whatever different role they play have one main objective to fulfill, that is we want to promote the game of badminton in Brunei Darussalam.

He added: "With the prize money of US$250,000 and the top shuttlers in action, this tournament will certainly attract the attention of fans from Brunei and neighbouring countries to witness this prestigious event."

Furthermore, he added that indirectly this tournament will certainly be a boost towards the development of tourism in Brunei and also with the live coverage of the event throughout Asia and the world via ESPN STAR network the image and pride of our nation, Brunei Darussalam, will definitely be enhanced further.

Recently crowned world champion Hendrawan of Indonesia and China's Olympic champion Ji Xinpeng are part of the 16-strong field in the men's singles event, with current world number one Peter Gade trying to defend his 1999 World Grand Prix Finals title.

One of the 12 women's singles qualifiers, Gong Ruina, China's new world champion, will be looking to prove her Seville win was no one-off, but she'll face stiff competition from teammates Gong Zhichao (reigning Olympic champion) and world silver medallist Zhou Mi, not to mention the European threat posed by Denmark's Camilla Martin.

Chandra Wijaya and Tony Gunawan reform their Olympic gold medal winning partnership for the Brunei men's doubles event while Zhang Jun and Gao Ling (the only combination to win gold at both the Olympics and the World Championships) have to be firm favourites for another major title in the mixed doubles.

The raft of talent on show in Brunei means that every match even in the early group stages is equivalent to the final of a regular Grand Prix event. There's an added air of excitement to this edition of the tournament in that it will be played under the much debated "best of 5 games to 7 points" scoring system, making for even faster, more intense matches.

The event from August 8-12 is the year 2000 edition of the World Grand Prix Finals. Qualifiers were invited as per the world ranking lists of Dec 14 2000.

The top 16 men's singles players, top 12 women's singles players, and top eight pairs in men's, women's, and mixed doubles as per these ranking lists are invited to play.

Source: Borneo Bulletin Sunday

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M-League - Pahang edge past Sarawak

KUANTAN: Pahang earned their first win in the second round when they edged Sarawak 1-0 at the Darulmakmur Stadium last night.

The first half turned out to be a dull afffair as both sides failed to make any dangerous attempts at goal.

After the break, S. Suresh became the toast of the home team when he headed in the winning goal six minutes before the final whistle.

The visitors also saw Bobby Chua being stretchered out after he was injured during a tussle in the Pahang box.

Pahang: Mudzar Mohammad, Jalaluddin Jaafar, Safri Mokhtar, Khairol Anuar Karim (S.Suresh), Azmani Abdul Kadir, Iskandar Zulkarnain, Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi (Azaruddin Aziz), Khairul Nizam Haniff, Al Rafaie Ali (Shahrizan Salleh), Shahril Faizal Sharifuddin, Mohd Ali Tahar.

Sarawak: Mazlan Wahed, Jeffery Akup, Ramles Sari, Bobby Pian, Ali Sapiee, Dahlan Matusin, Zulkarnaen Poasa (Halim Jantan), Bobby Chua Kim Lun (Zaidil Sakup), Ibrahim Mantali (Shariza Sahari), Gilbert Cassidy Gawing, Jeffery Untam.

Source: The Star

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Football - Full probe into Rhinos?

By Francis Xavier

KOTA KINABALU: No police report has been made but the Sabah Football Association (Sabah FA) president Datuk Anifah Aman yesterday firmly said that he will not leave any stone unturned in relation to the so-called problem plaguing its Premier II squad.

He said the idea of asking the police to investigate the players is merely for precaution taken by the FA.

Anifah confirmed that they have yet to make a police report, adding that they would take the next course of action after consulting the Supreme Council members, the FA Competition Committee and the independent delegates.

"We donít want to make any harsh decision, but will sit down before we act," said Anifah after he met the Sabah Sports Board General Manager Herman Tiongsoh.

"I want to know their (players) lifestyle ...whether they actually prepare themselves for the game... whether they take care of their health or whether they consider themselves professional. If necessary they need to change their lifestyle because this is what professionalism is all about," the FA boss stressed.

"But on the other hand, if they say yes to me, look we have been looking after ourselvesÖthen they still play below par, I also still want to know what the reasons behind are because we cannot take it for granted.

"And also maybe like what the other states FA are facing ...maybe drugs problem... we never know," he added.

"So, Iím asking our Competition Committee to go for random checks before the FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) checks and we cannot take anything for granted. Iím not saying this is happening, but what we are saying Ďsediakan payung sebelum hujaní (be ready before it rains). Nowadays, with sport at this level, we cannot take it easy," the Deputy Primary Industries Minister pointed out.

He also reiterated that he is not accusing the players of anything and warned, "I will not leave any stone unturned because of two reasons. Firstly this is for the good of the sport. Without discipline I donít think we can achieve anything."

"Secondly, itís because of the paying fans. I donít want the paying fans to pay to go and watch the match and the result (of the game) has been fixed. I donít want anybody to cheat me. So now, Iím telling the players because they are among the better paid ...from the aspect of our income... some of them are being paid well in excess of a bank manager. So, now Iím only asking for their honest best," said Anifah.

On Thursday Anifah had said that he would ask the police to investigate the players, saying that there is something wrong with the team.

He said this after Sabah were held to a two-all draw at the Penampang Stadium. The also result denied Sabah of topping the standings.

Meanwhile, the Sabah Football Association (Sabah FA) will know by next week whether they can use the now under-renovation Likas Stadium as its home venue for the three remaining home matches in the Premier II.

Sabah Sports Board General Manager Herman Tiongsoh said yesterday that they would refer the FAís intention to the assigned contractors and the Youth, Culture and Sports Development Ministry before they can give the FA the nod to utilise the stadium.

Speaking to reporters after he held a meeting with the Sabah FA President Datuk Anifah Aman at his office here yesterday, Herman said: "If the contractor and the Ministry say it is alright for the State Premier II team to use the stadium then it is okay with us. By early next week, we should know the answer."

"I thank him (Anifah) for coming personally to convey the FAís intention. I did not expect him to humble himself and see us. But because of the seriousness of the situation he is willing to spend his precious time to come and see us.

"At the same time, the FA also assured that they will be looking into the security aspect of the stadium - which is the biggest problem. Since they can look into the problem, half of the problem has been solved," said Herman, who said that they FA promised to increase the police force at the west wing area.

"So, if it does not slow down the renovation works - inside and outside the stadium, then Sabah can play their remaining home matches at Likas," he said.

"We will explain to the contractors as well as the Ministry about the whole matter," he pointed out.

As far as the Board is concerned, Herman said it is good for them if the FA can use the stadium, as the gate collection will be better.

"Should the FA get the nod to use the stadium, it is up to the Sabah FA to decide on whether to increase ticket prices or otherwise," he said.

For the record Sabahís next home matches are against Armed Forces (July 23), Malacca Telekom (August 3) and Kelantan JKR (August 13).

The FA Secretary General Yusof Mohd Said and its Executive Secretary Harry Baking as well as the Board engineer Chris Len were also present.

Source: New Sabah Times

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Saturday, July 14, 2001

M-League - Brunei beat Cops

By Bakhtiar Shamsudin

Brunei cruised to an easy 3-0 win against a poor Police DRM team last night and strengthened its claim for a place in the Division 1.

Competition was practically all over in the first half when goals by Mohd Subhi Abdillah in the 9th min and Riwandi Wahit in the 31st min put Brunei in a commanding position, in a game when they hardly had the need to push themselves.

A last minute goal by Ak Mohd Shahrum put some credibility to the scoreline, in view of the Wasps' obvious superiority.

The Majlis Perbandaran Stadium in Selayang, with its 200 or so crowd was not conducive for good soccer, and the performance on the pitch was very telling. Chances at goal were few and far between, and there was little for the sparse ensemble to cheer about.

Still, a win is a win, and last night's was one to cherish, despite the team's performance. It means another three points under the Brunei belt, while the 3-0 score could do wonders to the Wasps' goal difference at the end of the season, when Brunei battle the leaders for the top or second spot.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Football - SAFA President to make police report

By Francis Xavier

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Football Association (Sabah FA) President Datuk Anifah Aman yesterday said he will ask the police to investigate the Stateís Premier II players.

He, however, is not throwing any wild allegation on whether the players are involved in match-fixing, but strongly pointing out that there is something wrong with the team.

"I will ask the police to check if there is something wrong with the players. Before they were not paid, but this month they will be getting their salaries early. But there are several players who are not playing (up to expectations). There is something wrong with the team. They never chase after the ball and never fight for the ball. What excuses have they got," Anifah said after Sabah were held to a two-all draw by KL Malay Mail in a Premier II tie at the Penampang Stadium yesterday.

"Khairul (Azman Mohd) was injured and he never gave any signal. He should have signalled the bench if he was injured. A goalkeeper of his standard should have signalled the bench (for substitution), but he did not. After the goal (equaliser) only then was the substitution made. Madzalan (Emoi) lost the ball in the middle of the field, but he never tried to chase after ball," he fumed.

"Iím not saying that the match is been fixed but I will ask the police to investigateÖwhether it is their lifestyle or is there something going on (with the players," the Deputy Primary Industries Minister said.

Anifah, who is also the team manager added: "I donít want the paying fans to be cheated. We beat them (KL Malay Mail) three times. Iím not happy with some of the players and clearly some of the players are not doing their best."

"Iíve done my level best for the team. I have spoken to the players and told them that the salary problem has been sorted out. But Iím very upset with the players today. Not that I donít accept defeat - winning and losing is part and parcel of the game, but I donít accept the manner in which we lost the game today," he pointed out.

"I donít want to cheat the paying fans and will ask the police to investigate," he reiterated.

Anifah also said that he would talk to the coach (Ken Worden) - on who are the players that Worden are referring to in his statement on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Worden had said that he is going to issue a warning to two or three of the players if they donít change their attitude towards training and the match proper.

Source: New Sabah Times

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Friday, July 13, 2001

M-League - Sabah score second draw

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah muffed another home game and settled for a 2-2 draw against lowly KL Malay Mail at the Likas Stadium in here yesterday.

After a scoreless first-half, Malay Mail took the lead in the 64th minute through R. Surendran. Sabah equalised through Shahrin Majid in the 77th minute off a penalty.

Sabah then went 2-1 up in the 82nd minute when substitute Zainizam Marjan found the net. However, the visitors denied the Rhinos full points when S. Sunder netted in the 86th minute for a 2-2 draw.

It was Sabah's second successive draw at home after a scoreless draw against Johor FC on Monday. The two draws seriously jeopardised the Rhinos' hopes of winning the Premier II title.

However, Sabah remain unbeaten in the second round, having won against Kelantan TNB 2-0 in their first match.

Source: The Star

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M-League - Wasps ready to sting cops

By Benny Ang

Mick Jones has heard it all before. While his Wasps have looked a superior outfit at home to most of the teams they have played against, their away games have left a bit to be desired.

There is no shortage of people who are lining up to offer Jones their advice on what steps can be taken to cure their travel ailments. So when the Wasps take the field tonight against the Police in Kuala Lumpur, the Brunei coach is fully aware that a victory would go a long way towards silencing his critics.

Said Jones, "When things don't go quite right, people are always quick to jump on the bandwagon and offer their bit on what can be done. I've told the team that the only way to silence the critics is to go out and play a good football game and win."

To a certain extent, Brunei's troubles on the road can be attributed to the overwhelming percentage of young players, most of them in their first full season as a Brunei player. But sooner or later, this tag of inexperience will wear off at which point the players themselves will be held accountable for their performances.

Jones is quick to point out that it hasn't been all doom and gloom for them on the road, after all there was the vital 1-0 victory at second-placed Sabah to be proud of.

To Jones, it is just a question of putting the perfect 90 minutes together, maintaining concentration throughout the match, something that is part of the learning curve for young players.

"This must be one of the youngest teams to represent Brunei ever. So it is natural that along the way we will have the growing pains. But it is vital that they learn from them.

"We haven't played badly away from home and anyone closely connected to the team will know that. But costly mistakes away from home will be hard to overcome. In most of the matches, we dominate but one mistake costs us a goal.

"That won't do anymore. Part of the meeting before the match against KL Malay Mail was geared towards the away matches. I told the players that we will go all out to win every match and away matches are no exception."

Brunei certainly have the ability to beat the Police, having already defeated them in round one at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium but an away game is an entirely different matter.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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Badminton Grand Prix in Brunei

By Benny Ang

The World Grand Prix Badminton Finals will be held in Brunei again starting from August 8-12 at the National Indoor Stadium, Berakas.

Originally scheduled for March this year, the tournament was postponed with the International Badminton Federation citing logistical reasons for the delay.

However, the IBF has finally confirmed that the tournament will be held in Brunei for the third time, following the two previous successful editions of the tournament.

Featuring the top badminton players from around the world, the Brunei World Grand Prix Badminton Finals is receiving strong financial sponsorship from several corporations in the private sector and will be confirmed in a signing ceremony tomorrow.

The sponsors for this year's edition are Yayasan Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah, DST Communications Sdn Bhd, Royal Brunei Airlines, Brunei Shell Marketing and HSBC in no particular order.

While the tournament is being held this year, the title will still carry the year 2000 as this tournament is being carried over from last year. The prestigious tournament boasts the biggest prize money purse of all badminton tournaments throughout the season and will see the great Dane, Peter Gade Christensen back to defend the title that he won in 1999.

He will undoubtedly face stiff competition from an uprising group of players who have done all they can to challenge his crown this season including the surprising Pullela Gopichand from India, the dangerous Chinese group of Chen Hong, Ji Xinpeng, Xia Xuanze and Chen Gang.

Source: Borneo Bulletin

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