* ‘It was a big, big offer and it came only one week before the 2015 season began’ – Alberts
* ‘I could not leave Sarawak in a lurch ‘ – Alberts
* ‘Sarawak football suffered when I could not get five of the players on my list’ – Alberts
* ‘I just want to see Sarawak stay in Super League’ – Alberts
Dutchman Robert Alberts turned down a “big, big offer” from Sabah a week before the new kicked off this year but he turned it down because the lucrative offer came just a week before the 2015 M-League season kicked off.
At the same time Alberts saw Sarawak becoming a top notch team in Malaysia but things did not turn out as he wanted. Topping the Dutchman’s list was of players he wanted to don Sarawak colours in the Super League campaign.
“I had a list of players but I could not get the five – I do not want to go into details,” said Alberts from Kuching as he goes about sorting out and clearing matters after he quit as Sarawak’s head coach on Thursday.
Alberts made the decision to leave a day after Sarawak suffered three straight defeats, losing to Super League leaders Pahang at the Darul Makmur Stadium in Kuantan.
The defeat came in the wake of Sarawak’s defeats to Terengganu in Kuala Terengganu (4-2) and Felda United (2-0) in Kuching and Perak 3-1 in Ipoh, second round).
The defeat to Felda was rather painful as it ended Sarawak’s unbeaten run in the league at home this season. The rot started when Sarawak completed their first round fixtures with a 1-1 draw with Perak at home.
Coming back to the Sabah offer, the Dutchman added that it was “unfair to leave Sarawak in a lurch” when the league was to kickoff in a week’s time.
However, things did not turned out as planned for Alberts and the Crocs and he became “Victim No 6” as the 2015 season continues to take its toll on coaches. The year has also seen the highest turnover of coaches – which incidentally started with another Dutchman – George Boateng, who was told to “take a rest” by 2012 treble champions Kelantan.
Alberts blames no one for his predicament. In his own words he “has the best of working relationship” with the Sarawak management, including Sarawak FA president Dato Sudarsono Osman.
“It was a mutual agreement to part ways in the best interest of the team. My heart is still with Sarawak and hope that the team stays in the Super League and does well in the Malaysia Cup. Sarawak are capable of moving up the table. Losing three straight matches does not mean it is the end of the world for Sarawak football.”
For the time being Alberts’ job will be handled by Bosnian Fuad Grbesic, who is the Sarawak FA’s youth development coach. He was hired by Sarawak earlier this year.
Alberts, who has been with Sarawak for the past four years took Sarawak to the Premier League title in 2013 with an unbeaten record.
“There is a pool of local talent that can be groomed for bigger things. That’s why I wish to see Sarawak remain in the Super League. They need to play aggressive football,” added Alberts who wants to take a short break and see what transpires from now until the Malaysia Cup.