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UniKL wants to redeem disappointment, THT adamant on defending title

KUALA LUMPUR, The tussle for the 2020 Malaysian Hockey League (LHM) Sumbangsih Cup will surely be stiff when once again it will see a collision between the Terengganu Hockey team (THT) and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) on Jan 10.

The 2019 TNB Cup and Sumbangsih Cup champions, THT, which is now being helmed by former national coach Muhammad Dharmaraj Abdullah, nevertheless, shouted their confidence at their capability to defend the title at the action at the National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil.

But, at the same time, coach S. Selvaraj’s protege, UmiKL, which lost to THT via a penalty decider in the Sumbangsih Cup this season, were optimist they had a chance to wrest the championship title at the 2020 campaign after they excelled in the LHM competition chart this year.

THT midfielder, Fitri Saari, who is also a national player, did not rule out the possibility of UniKL giving a stiffer fight next season with the presence of a new import player for the team from Australia.

”Our target is to grab the championship although we expect UniKL will be stronger next season. THT is struggling (with the performance of the team) because the number of import players have been reduced from six to only four.

”The local players are still the same people. But, with the presence of coach Dharmaraj, I hope his experience of guiding the players will give an advantage to THT.

”For players like me, Faizal Saari and Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman are comfortable with Dharmaraj but the other players have never been with him. They have to get used with his way and strategies which he would be applying,” he told a media conference for the approaching 2020 LHM-TNB Cup here today.

In the meantime, THT secretary, Mohd Rashidi Hashim placed the Key Performance Index (KPI) on Muhammad Dharmaraj to retain the 2020 Sumbangsih Cup, and he believed, with the capability and expertise of the coach, it could be achieved.

Meanwhile, UniKL assistant coach, Saiful Azhar Mohd Afandi conceded they had to be more careful with the THT team especially after it came under the tutelage of Muhammad Dharmaraj.

”Our preparation for next season is proceeding smoothly. We want to grab the Sumbangsih Cup title for the first time next season after losing in the penalty decider this season,” he said.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Asian Champions League target for Red Giants – Sathianathan

SHAH ALAM, Selangor has set a target of qualifying for the 2021 Asian Champions League (ACL).

Head coach B.Sathianathan this would be the team’s main aim when the Malaysia League kicks off in February next year.

AFC has slots for Malaysian teams, so that will be our target, to qualify for the competition, he said when contacted by Bernama.

Preparations for the 2020 Super League campaign are going well with many of the squad members having already reported for duty.

The majority have begun training except for Syahmi Safari as he was involved in the SEA Games recently, so I’ve let him report for duty in January.

“Our new Singaporean import player, Safuwan (Muhammad Safuwan Baharudin), is training hard and our only other import player left, Rufino Segovia (Spain) will be back in training soon after his injury last season, he said.

Besides Safuwan, the Red Giants will have new five new players in its stable for the new campaign.

They are former Perak players Brendan Gan and Nor Hakim Hassan and former PKNS FC players, Nicholas Ryan Swirad, Rodney Celvin Akwensivie and Tauffiq Ar Rasyid.

Selangor ended last season’s campaign in third place in the Super League standings, and also qualified for the last four in the Malaysia Cup.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Agong receives OCM Special Award 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was tonight awarded the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Special Award 2019 to recognise His Majesty’s involvement and contributions to sports.

The trophy, featuring a globe with all Olympic Games host cities, to symbolise the Olympic Movement and the action of sportsmen of core sports in Malaysia at the bottom, including three of Al-Sultan Abdullah’s favourites – football, hockey and polo, was presented at the 26th Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) Annual Dinner and Awards Night at a hotel, here.

The trophy was carried to the stage by the country’s four prominent Olympic Games medalists, Rashid Sidek, Cheah Soon Kit (Atlanta 1996), Datuk Lee Chong Wei (Beijing 2008, London 2012 & Rio 2016) and Pandelela Rinong (London 2012 & Rio 2016).

Former world number one shuttler, Chong Wei then handed the trophy to OCM president, Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria who presented it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Meanwhile, national gymnastics queen, Farah Ann Abd Hadi and wushu exponent, Loh Choon How were declared as the Olympians of Year 2019.

Farah, 25, who showcased spectacular and hypnotizing performances to clinch three gold medals at the recent 30th SEA Games in the Philippines and with a haul of seven gold, two silver and three bronze medals since her debut at the biennial Games in 2011 in Indonesia, was named as the female Olympian of the year.

She won gold in women’s all-around, floor exercise and uneven bars.

Prior to that, Farah became the first Malaysian woman artistic gymnast to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics during the qualifying sessions of the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, last October.

The last time Malaysia had an artistic gymnast in the world’s biggest multisports event was when Au Li Yen was featured at the 2000 Sydney edition.

Choon How on other hand, had to overcome pain to bag two gold medals at the SEA Games by edging favourites and world class exponents in the men’s taijijian and taijiquan.

They each received RM10,000 cash and special gold medals, sponsored by Coca-Cola Company, from Al-Sultan Abdullah.

The event also witnessed five inductees for the OCM Hall of Fame, a recognition for outstanding retired athletes, sports officials, sports journalists and media personnel.

It was led by the late Sultan Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah for his contributions in football, among others as the president of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) from 1994-2002 and AFF president since 2011.

Other inductees are former OCM secretary-general, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi (water polo and OCM), Datuk Roland Wong Choon Tat (badminton), Lieutenant-General (R), Datuk Seri Panglima Abdul Manap Ibrahim (hockey) and former tennis player, S. A. Azman.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

National boxer ready for the biggest fight of his career

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 National boxer, Muhammad Farkhan Haron, will soon square off with Tanzanian boxer, Pascal Ndomba, in the most important fight of his career yet at the Johor International Boxing Championship (JIBC) 2019 on Dec 29 at the Persada Johor International Convention Centre (PJICC), Johor Bahru.

Apart from defending his Asia cruiserweight (90.7kg) World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) titles, he will be challenging his opponent who has 24 wins, two ties and nine defeats for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) intercontinental title, too.

Muhammad Farkhan, 30, who has a 100 per cent win-record from 10 fights said: For the first time I’m getting the opportunity to take the intercontinental title, which is just a level below the world title. Preparations have been good. I just need to lose 3kg in 10 days.

Certainly he (Ndomba) is more experienced, having 35 fights under his belt, with 22 out 24 KO (knockout) victories. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for me to throw in the towel so fast. Nothing is impossible and the person with the best fight preparation is capable of winning.

During a press conference cum ceremony to introduce JIBC’s sponsors at Wisma OCM, Muhammad Farkhan admitted he is feeling the pressure to win in front of a home crowd and notable people, but believes he will be able to overcome it and hopes his health will hold up.

Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor (KPRJ), Sports Johor, Ramada Hotel, PJICC, Mata Management and Services, Oxycom and JB Care Centre Sdn Bhd have been announced as JIBC’s backers.

The fight begins at 8pm with a performance by Zizi Kirana and Ben Ladin included. You can also catch it on Astro Arena from 8pm – 11pm.

Take note as well that another national boxer, Eswaran Murali (6-0-0), will be getting into the fighting ring with Indonesian, Hery Andryanto, in a (JIBC) co-main event to claim the International Boxing Association (IBA) Asia title.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Negeri Sembilan appoint Sazali Saidon as new head coach

SEREMBAN, Dec 19 Former Negeri Sembilan President Cup squad coach, Sazali Saidon has been appointed to lead the Deers in the 2020 Malaysia League competition.

The development was announced via the latest entry on Negeri Sembilan Football Association (NSFA) Facebook page and Bernama confirmed the matter with its media officer Firdaus Bhari here today.

According to NSFA, Sazali was earlier entrusted to assist Negeri Sembilan assistant coach Zaki Sheikh Ahmad for several matches in the league this season after team head coach Mat Zan Mat Aris was axed.

Apart from Sazali, former Police midfielder Shahurain Abu Samah also confirmed joining the Deers next season.

Shahurain had turned out for Negeri Sembilan from 2006 to 2013 before joining Felda United, PKNS and Police.

In this regard, the squad retained senior defender Hafiz Zamani Misbah as well as three import players namely Shunsuke Nakatake (Japan), Igor Luiz (Brazil) and Matheus Vila (Brazil).

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

PBSNT gives assurance to settle payment to ex-players

KUALA TERENGGANU, Dec 19 The Terengganu Football Association (PBSNT) has given its assurance to settle the balance of outside of contract payments arrears to 12 Terengganu FC (TFC), as agreed to prior to this.

However, PBSNT needed a little bit of time as it was facing financial constraints after the Malaysian Football League (MFL) announced that there was no 2019 Malaysian League broadcasting rights payments left to be distributed to the Super League and Premier League teams.

PBSNT executive secretary, Mohd Syahrizan Mohd Zain said the non-availability of the fund truly impacted on the association because numerous preliminary plannings had been made including settling 50 per cent of the outside of contract payments to the former players of TFC.

”We do not expect the situation to be so serious that MFL cannot make the payment and places PBSNT’s plans in dire straits.

”Nevertheless, taking the initiative and responsibility with the commitment which has been made to the players, TFC had settled 75 per cent of the payment to the players whose contracts were not extended, with 25 per cent of it using existing TFC funds,” he said through a media statement today.

The issue on the payment arrears cropped up when several former TFC players uploaded insinuating comments on the social site against the PBSNT management which triggered backlash from football fans in the state against the association.

Mohd Syahrizan said PBSNT regretted that some former players had viraled the problem and tarnished the image of PBSNT.

He said the action was very aggressive and irresponsible because PBSNT had given an indepth explanation and sought a little bit of space to solve the crisis.

”This matter should not have arisen because at the same time two-way communication is still available and PBSNT had given its assurance and commitment to the former players,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)

Successful Selangor athletes will get windfall next month

SHAH ALAM, Selangor athletes who contributed the gold medals at the 30th SEA Games recently are set to receive a windfall which is expected in the middle of next month.

Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Amiruddin Shari said the incentive of around RM3,000 to RM5,000 each was allocated by the state government through the Selangor State Sports Council (MSN) to be given to the athletes who showcased excellent performances at the biennial event.

”Indeed, the allocation for the incentives have been decided three to four years ago to be given to any Selangor athlete who contributes a gold medal whether in the Olympics, Asian Games or SEA Games.

”The incentive is akin to support to the athletes involved, because of the 56 gold medals won by the national contingent, 26 were contributed by the athletes from Selangor,” he told reporters after opening the ‘Sweat and Shoot : Sports Without Discrimination’ programme organised by Kumpulan Karangkraf, here today.

For the record, Malaysia ended the SEA Games campaign in the Philippines with 56 gold medals, 58 silver medals and 71 bronze medals.

Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah expressed his pride at the success of the state’s athletes who had contributed a large number of gold medals to the country at the event.

He hoped the success at the event would continue to inspire the officials, athletes and Selangor MSN.

In another development, asked on the Selangor football team which was said to have been privatised following its merger with PKNS FC, Amirudin explained that The Red Giants squad was still representing the state.

”This is because 50 per cent of the shares in the team are owned by the subsidiary companies of the state including the Selangor State Development Corporation, which will be decided by the state government. Some shares are also owned by the Football Association of Selangor and individuals.

”The formula will be maintained and is seen able to boost the Selangor team in the coming league competition through good and professional management and administration,” he added.

Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)