KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal said a change in the leadership and management of Sabah Football Association (SAFA) is the secret for the success of the state team in clinching the Premier League title this season after a 23-year drought.
He said the high commitment showed by the SAFA management team especially its president Datuk Peter Anthony in the past seven months was proven and it was also the result of the cooperation of all players and the management.
“I would like to congratulate the entire SAFA management especially Peter for successfully lifting the Premier League trophy this season and succeeded in getting promotion to the Super League in the next season.
“As such, I hope the team would maintain their performance in the Malaysia Cup and Super League in the next season,” he told reporters after witnessing the handing over of the 2019 Premier League championship trophy at Likas Stadium Saturday night.
Also present was Sabah Yang Dipertua, Tun Juhar Mahiruddin as well as several members of the state cabinet.
The previous president of the Sabah FA was Musa Aman who ditched the association days after he lost the chief ministership in the 14th general election.
Asked what reward would be given to the Sabah players after becoming the Premier League champions this season, Mohd Shafie said the matter had been discussed but it would be decided later.
“What is important is not the reward… as we want to see the players continue their commitment to play as we want to produce many more professional players in Sabah to represent the country to a higher level,” he said.
Earlier Stadium Likas was filled with the cheers of more than 10,000 supporters of the state team after witnessing the presentation of the Premier League trophy last night.
The success was even sweeter when the Tambadaus continued to show their supremacy by defeating Kelantan 1-0.
Sabah had in fact been confirmed as Premier League champions in their previous match when they defeated UiTM FC 2-1 in Shah Alam with 40 points after 18 matches, seven points ahead of their nearest challengers, Johor Darul Ta’zim II (JDT II).