[/quote]FAS official welcomes move to halt decline
KUCHING: Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) official Zuraimi Sabki has hailed the State government’s move to rescue the game by forming a club-structured entity to look after the senior team.
Zuraimi, who is involved in enlisting the help of English League One club Hartlepool to improve the game here, and managing the senior team this season, said under the club structure, FAS would not be burdened with having too many things on its hands.
The club structure, likely to be modelled after Johor FC or Negeri Sembilan Naza, will involve the senior team while FAS will act as liaison between the yet-to-be named club and Football Association of Malaysia.
“I see it as a paradigm shift for Sarawak football because the new club, when constituted, will be run by the ministry.
“The main difference is FAS will not be burdened with a big task as the senior team will be run by the club while FAS is more suited to take charge of the development aspects like looking after the Belia team and the President’s Cup squad.
“Also under the club structure, it will be more like a corporate body, and sponsors can come in. It’s an exciting thing as we all want to see Sarawak do well and we can use this as a model for the Malaysia Cup,” he said.
Zuraimi, who is Brooke Dockyard CEO and general manager, said Social Development and Urbanisation Minister Dato Sri William Mawan Ikom’s announcement of a club for Sarawak was good timing for the MoU reached with Hartlepool which will arrive here today.
Mawan, who is also minister in charge of sports, made the announcement at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday and held an impromptu press conference on the matter later.
Under a five-year deal, Hartlepool will send coaches to Sarawak and help run the club and administration modelled after English clubs.
The Sarawak side will take care of expenses such as food and lodging for Hartlepool coaches but they will provide their own travelling expenses here.
In another development, Zuraimi called on FAS president Khaider Zaidell to reconsider his decision to resign, saying the FAS still needed him with the revolutionary club structure soon to be set up.
“He is a football man and we still need him to help tackle a lot of issues on Sarawak football,” he said.
Zuraimi pointed out that the problems were not with Khaider but the association, especially its insurmountable debts, but with the government behind the club proposal, Sarawak football would have a good chance of survival.