SARAWAK have been in the news of late – on the political and the football fronts.
Incumbent Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is stepping down from his post after 33 years. On the football pitch the Crocs are slowly making their presence felt in the Super League.
The Sarawak football team hauled themselves into the top with a 2-0 win over PKNS at the Selayang Stadium last Friday – days after knocking Selangor out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win in a second round match at the Petaling Jaya Stadium despite playing with only 10 players.
In the first leg FA Cup quarterfinal at Selayang Stadium, Sarawak held Felda United 0-0. The return leg will be played at the State Stadium in Kuching this Tuesday.
Alberts and company have another important date at the same venue tomorrow – the Super League match against Perak.
The match against Perak is of special important as everyone remembers Perak’s 6-1 thrashing by Sarawak in a Malaysia Cup group match at the same venue in September last year.
The big defeat and Perak’s failure to make the Malaysia Cup quarterfinals led to suspicion of match fixing and the Perak FA later suspended the entire team and called in the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).However, the players and officials were later cleared of any wrong doings.
“We have two big matches in the next five days, but I have three casualties – Muamer Salibasic (striker), S. Chanturu (midfielder) and Akmal Rizal Rakhli (striker),” Sarawak coach Robert Alberts told Sports247.my
“We have done pretty well without them but it has been taxing on the rest of the players.”
The Dutchman, however, will welcome back goalkeeper Sani Anuar Kamsani from suspension to beef up his last line of defence. Alberts also heaped praise on second choice keeper Fadzley Abdul Rahim who hasn’t conceded a goal.
“Sani’s experience in facing big matches is a plus factor that swayed my decision to start against Perak,” he explained.
He has a headache with his strike force as Alireza Abbasfard and Milorad Janjus have similar playing styles.