Sarawakian football fans in general support many, many teams…but not necessarily the Sarawak football team.
We can probably blame this sad state of affairs on the Barclays Premier League or the UEFA Champions League or any of the other top professional leagues in this world (that we can catch on satellite TV, that is).
This was not always the case though because at one point in time, even I could name the starting 11 of our beloved State’s football team.
That, of course, started with the exciting football coach we used to have, the enigmatic Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad, who famously jumped into the Sarawak River from Satok Bridge, to honour a bet when our team won a match or something.
This “golden era” of Sarawak football reached its peak during the reign of coach Alan Vest, who brought us not only silverware, but gave us a sense of pride in our “crocs” (not the rubber sandals).
I guess Sarawak football started to go downhill after Vest moved on for (literally) greener pitches.
Standards dropped…we couldn’t get quality players…and I think financially, the team wasn’t doing pretty well either.
Not that I cared much because not too long after that, the English Premier League entered our lives and our undying support found a new home in the various teams in England.
As always, I’m stating the obvious here.
But what I’d like to point out today is that Sarawak football might just be making a comeback at the moment.
Well, sort of.
Next season, Sarawak is set to join Malaysia’s top football league, when our team is promoted from the PREMIER LEAGUE to the SUPER LEAGUE.
Not too long ago (just two months back, actually), I didn’t even know Malaysia had TWO football leagues!
I still can’t name the Sarawak team’s first 11, but I will try harder next season, and maybe even attend a few home games in Kuching.
Now what we need is to have the fan clubs making more noise about our crocs…in the papers…on TV…online…anywhere, lah!
Get the excitement going, you reds!
As for Sarawak’s corporate sector, it might not hurt to throw a few Ringgit in the direction of our team, for next season’s campaign that is…just for a try…one season, at least.
And for the dormant fans, let’s try to go to at least ONE game next season and try to have some conversations about our crocs, instead of just the Devils, or the Reds or the Blues, or the Gunners all the time.
I think the time is right to get excited about our team again so let’s give them all the support they need to bring pride back to our shores.
Was that the faint sound of “Ngap Sayot” I heard?
How The Borneo Post gloriously announced the good news for next season:
Sarawak gloriously march into Super League
Posted on May 24, 2011, Tuesday
KUCHING: Sarawak strengthen thier position for promotion to the Super League after trashing Penang USM FC 4-1 in the Premier League at the State Stadium, Petra Jaya here yesterday.
All the goals were scored in the second half through Ashri Chuchu (2 goals), Bobby Gonzales and Benedict Martin while Penang USM FC consolation goal was scored by Mohd Failee Mohd Ghazli.
In yesterday match , the first half was equally contested as both teams were playing cautiously. Nevertheless, the Crocs had several scoring chances but failed to find the net.
The visitors launched several counter attacks, but the custodian Aidil Mohamad was in his top form to let the ball into net.
At half time both teams were tied 0-0.
After the breather, right after the first whistle Sarawak rose to the occasion electrifying the game and in possession of the ball.
The Crocs’ endless attacks finally paid-off in the 47th minute when Ashri scored, beating the on rushing keeper Jeevananthan Gunasekaran on a one-on-one situation.
Not showing any sign of complacency, Ashri again made a spur by scoring the second goal in the 59th minute through a left-footed chip connecting a pass from midfielder, Wong Sai Kong, defeating stunned Jeevananthan.
USM FC started to play robustly after realising they were two goals behind, resulting in two players got the booking from referee Wan Mohd Tarmizi Wan Ibrahim.
Sarawak doubled their pressure on USM FC and was well taken by Bobby and scored the third goal in the 69th minute from goal mouth melee, to the shocked of Jeevananthan.
Sarawak’s 3-0 comfortable lead somehow did not break USM FC’s spirit. Instead, they made several surprise counter attacks to the Crocs half, but luck was not on their side.
Substituting Bobby with Benedict Martin five minutes into full time the proved rewarding when he scored Sarawak’s fourth winning goal in the 85th minute through set piece taken just inches away from the box
However, the visitor did not leave empty handed when they scored the consolation goal in the 87th minute of the game through an intense struggle in the box between keeper Mohd Failee and Aidil, to make it 4-1.
Robert and the rest of the Sarawak Football Association (FAS) officials including FAS president Datu Sudarsono Osman could to express their joy after a substantial win.
“It was an outstanding performance by the boys especially in the second-half. I am truly happy with huge win over USM FC. It was expected. I predicted Sarawak will win with three goals. This is one of the happiest moments for me, the boys, Datu Sudarsono, the rest of the FAS management team including the Sarawak fans. This game is slightly different from any other games. We have won and we will go to the Super League next season.
“However, USM FC played well especially in the first-half. Their abilities are as equal as Sime Darby’s. They were organized. I have to admit that Sarawak was weak in the first-half. Part of the reason was the lack of team work between Zamri Morshidi, Ashri and Bobby.
“I reminded both Zamri and Ashri after the first half time to assist Bobby and it paid-off well, they played according to instruction and the result was great,” Robert said.
Meanwhile, Datu Sudarsono was pleased with Sarawak’s win and said that he is looking forward for Super League challenge next season at the same time aiming to gain a respectable position in the league.
“I would like to congratulate the boys including Robert for doing a great job in delivering a great game throughout the season. Super League is in our hands right now. We are definitely looking forward to it.
“It is surely a good feeling from all of us especially the fans. The 4-1 win over USM FC means a lot for Sarawakians. I would like to express my gratitude to Sarawak’s former head coach Mohd Zaki Shaikh Ahmad for contributing to a tremendously good start for the Sarawak team and Robert for putting it to a good finish,” he expressed.
Sarawak is currently in the second placing in the league behind Selangor PKNS but has secured a place in the Super League next season. The Crocs will next play Selangor PKNS and ATM on July 4 (State stadium) and July 29 (away) for their two remaining matches.