Sarawak FA

The Football Association of Sarawak (Malay: Persatuan Bola Sepak Sarawak) enters a team in Malaysian football competitions to represent the state of Sarawak. The team is based in Kuching, Sarawak and currently (2010) plays in the Malaysia Premier League, the second highest league in Malaysian football.
Sarawak FA has never won the prestigious Malaysia Cup, but won the Malaysian Premier League, the Malaysian FA Cup and the Malaysian Charity Shield once each. In 1999, the team advanced to the second phase of the Asian Cup Winners Cup.

[edit] History

Football fields have existed in Sarawak before World War I, for example in Bau, Buso, Bidi, Sungei Tengah and Dalian. The teams were composed of European assistants and Asian staff. In 1924, the Kuching Wanderers were formed, a team mainly consisting of Europeans.
On January 16, 1926, the Wanderers were formed into the Kuching Football Cluband from that date until 1933, the Europeans of Kuching were able to field two teams and played regularly twice a week, and additionally played for a the James Buchanan Cup, named after James Buchanan, the fifteenth President of the United States. In 1933, however, regular matches stopped as several players left the country due to the world's economic slump. Nonetheless, in 1934, the Kuching Football Association, predecessor of the current association, was founded.
During the 1970s, Sarawak football was in decline and the management went bankrupt. The current Football Association of Sarawak was founded in 1974 by Datuk Haji Taha Ariffin, with assistance from the Sarawak Government. Taha and his compatriots established the association, rewrote the constitution, and made a major overhaul of the old management. With the establishment of the Piala Sarawak (or Sarawak Cup), the association progressed greatly, and later organised the Piala Borneo (Borneo Cup) to provide training and experience to the newly formed team.
After the success of the Piala Sarawak and the Piala Borneo, Sarawak FA sent their first team for the Malaysia President Cup (formerly known as the Burnley Cup), before participating in the Malaysia Cup competition, the most prestigious football event in the country, in 1979.
After another decade of slow progress, in 1988, new coach Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad introduced the slogan Ngap Sayot and brought the team to its first Malaysia Cup semi-final, defeating several times deemed to be stronger than Sarawak FA, for example the state teams of Selangor FA, Kedah FA, Kuala Lumpur FA and Pahang FA. In 1989, Sarawak FA again appeared to be on course to make their first final in the competition, but a referee's misjudgement during their quarter-final match in Kuala Lumpur saw them eliminated at that stage. The incident strained national integration and caused the FAS to withdraw its affiliation from the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for a short while.
During this time, under the management of Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad and Alan Vest, the team had risen from an underachiever to a successful side. Following the addition of foreign players in early 1990s, Sarawak FA won the Malaysian FA Cup, the Malaysian Premier League and the Malaysian Charity Shield. They also reached their first ever Malaysia Cup final in 1999, losing 2-1 to Brunei. After the Malaysian FA Cup final in 2001, Sarawak FA's performances somewhat stagnated and have declined so far that at the end of the season 2007-08, the team lost its position in the Super League Malaysia and was relegated to the Second Division of Malaysian national football, the Premier League Malaysia.

[edit] Honours

1999 (beaten by Brunei 1-2) (fixed by Brunei)
1992 (beat Kuala Lumpur 2-1)
Finalist 1996 (beaten by Kedah 0-1), 2001 (beaten by Selangor 0-1)
1998 (beat Selangor 3-1)

[edit] Themes and nicknames

Sarawak FA had used several themes (also known as battlecries)such as Ngap Ajak, Encang Sarawak Encang, Ngap Sayot and Tebang Balau.For this new season it is believed that the management is waiting for the fans to come up with something really that really could boost up the team's spirit!
As for nicknames, until recently, the team was used to be known as Bujang Senang or The Crocs, named after a legendary, notorious and mythical killer crocodile which believed to reside at the Batang Lupar river in the Sri Aman Division of Sarawak. Starting from the 2006-07 season, Sarawak decided to be known as the Kenyalang (The Hornbills). The Hornbill is the official state bird of Sarawak. The team was also known as the Black Cats during the 1980s.

[edit] The Ngap Sayot era (1988-1990)

The Ngap Sayot era witnessed the height of Sarawak's team spirit, robust play, wonderful games, effective strategies, truly Sarawakian and controversial. It is still remembered by older fans and players, and is regarded as the best era ever in Sarawak's football history.
The Ngap Sayot slogan was inspired by the team's former coach, Awang Mahyan Awang Mohamad during the height of their play between 1988 to 1990. During this era, the team were purely Sarawakian without taking any foreign imports into the team. Although being a punchbag for several elite teams in the competition, Sarawak were very strong at their home turf, the legendary Stadium Negeri (State Stadium) and was always packed with fans and noise that could shake any teams against Sarawak. Yet again their fighting spirit in those heyday was very strong that even current players couldn't match.
There are several events and incidents occurred during the era, including:
  • The mysterious black cat incident
A mysterious appearance of a black cat during a league match was regarded by older fans as sensational. Speculations arose that the team is using black magic as claimed by many; however, the black cat actually belonged to a fan that accidentally slipped his cat into the track. Hence the incident, the team assumed the black cat as their mascot for a few years.
  • The Satok Bridge jump
When Sarawak FA qualified for the quarter-final round of the Malaysia Cup for the first time, the flamboyant Awang Mahyan led his team jumped off the bridge into Sarawak River to celebrate their triumph. The event was joined by fans and was widely covered by the media nationwide.
  • The Stadium Negeri Midnight fiasco
During the second leg of a semi-final match in Kuching, the overloaded crowd, overwhelming atmosphere and unjust decision at the stadium forced the match to be postponed at midnight, taking the match technically played in two days, thus creating history in Malaysian sports until this day. The match was later resumed in Singapore, in which Sarawak lost. Due to the incident, the government refurbished and upgraded the stadium to its current state.
  • The Merdeka Stadium incident
This is the biggest crisis so far, to the extend that the national integration nearly shattered. It all started when Steven Ovinis, the match referee misjudged and penalised a Sarawak player for time-wasting. It was so clear at that time that the player was injured and needs medication as well as the referees' biasness towards Sarawak in favour of the Kuala Lumpur team. Knowing that something amiss, the Sarawak captain, along with other players, blasted the decision and asked for referee replacement. Being denied of their rights, Sarawak walked out from the field, boycotting the match as the referee was claimed to be 'pushed' to the ground. At this, the commotion began. Several FRU (Federal Reserve Unit) personnel rushed into the field, attacking Sarawak players in a move to 'protect the players'. Several players were hurt in that incident, and many still remember the horrifying moments. The incident has opted FAS to withdrew from FAM, and strained the relationship between the Federal Government and the Sarawak Government. The national integration was indeed shaken. National papers and media were the targets of attacks and confrontation. Even a federal minister from Kuala Lumpur was advised not to go to Sarawak due to this reason. The issue was later resolved when the deputy president of FAM was sent to bury the hatchet, and FAS rejoined FAM.

[edit] The Encang Sarawak Encang Era (1992-2003)

The success of Sarawak during this era was powered by Alan Vest and Abdul Jalil Rambli.
After the end of the Ngap Sayot era, FAS decided to revamp the team with the inclusion of foreign coach and players from Australia. Alan Vest (now a senior team director at Australia's Perth Glory FC), was chosen to become Sarawak's new boss, replacing the flamboyant Awang Mahyan.
With the investment that reached RM2 million at that time, Sarawak had shaped a formidable team. The most memorable glory was in 1992 when Sarawak won the FA Cup by defeating their main rival at that time, Kuala Lumpur. Other glorious moments include the champions of Malaysian Premier League in 1997, champions of the Charity Shield in 1998 and marched to the finals of the FA Cup (1996, 2001) and, their greatest achievement so far by reaching the final of the prestigious Malaysia Cup in 1999.
Around this time, Sarawak changed their mascot from a black cat to a crocodile, nicknamed Bujang Senang. The team itself is generally known as The Crocs.
The most popular foreign players in the team was John Hunter, known as John "Kerbau (Buffalo)" Hunter. David Evans, an Australian, holds the record as the tallest player ever in the league's history, as well as the longest serving foreign player. Other players such as Billy Bone, Alistair Edwards, Doug Ithier as well as Neathan Gibson were also popular with fans.
This era also witnessed a significant change of venue in 1997. After the end of the 1997 FIFA World Youth Cup, Sarawak moved to its current home, the Sarawak Stadium, which is adjacent to the old stadium (although the team re-used the old Stadium Negeri for several home matches afterwards). The new stadium was regarded quite unfortunate as the old one, but throughout the time the new stadium becomes an identity for the team itself. The new stadium has hosted several international matches, such the AFC Champions League second round match between Sarawak and Kashima Antlers of Japan, and other friendlies with clubs from Singapore, Australia and Germany.
After the departure of Alan Vest in 1999, Sarawak were left without any foreign touch due to FAM policy. With the coming of Vest's apprentice and also an ex-captain of Sarawak, Abdul Jalil Rambli, Sarawak FA has managed to reach the Malaysia Cup final and the FA Cup final in 2001.
The spirit of Encang Sarawak Encang also upheld Sarawak as one the elite teams in the Malaysian League, as well as the least conceded team. It is also noted that Sarawak were second to Selangor FA in terms of wealth and excellence in management as well as players' welfare. Sarawak became a favourite in most competitions and one the most consistent teams.

[edit] Rivalries

Sarawak FA shares a healthy rivalry with Selangor FA. This manifests mainly in a competition among the team's respective fans to gather the greater support, when the two teams play against each other. Sarawak fans also have certain rivalries with the teams from Brunei, Perak, Perlis and Kedah, but these are not as great as the rivalry with Selangor FA.

[edit] Ground

The team's current stadium is the 40,000-seater Sarawak Stadium at Petra Jaya, Kuching. The team previously played at the Jubilee Ground (Padang Jubli) at Padungan Road, Kuching, from their formation until the mid-80s before moving to the legendary Stadium Negeri (the State Stadium, next to the current ground). They played there until 1997 when they moved to the current Sarawak Stadium after the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship concluded.

[edit] Sponsorship

Sarawak FA, as well as other teams in the Malaysian League were previously sponsored by Dunhill worth RM300,000 per year; however, ended after the cigarette company sponsorship was banned according to the World Health Organization protocol in 2005. Currently, the Malaysian League is sponsored by the national telecommunication company, Telekom Malaysia (TM), in which all teams competing in the league must display TM or its subsidiaries logo (such as Celcom and TMNet) on their kit.
The Lea Group, a local company through their sporting wing, Lea Sports Centre has been the shirt sponsor for Sarawak since 1990s. ROSSI was the official attire of Sarawak from 2003–2009, and the team wear ROSSI kits since 2002.
Sarawak team will introduce their latest "ADIDAS" attire for season 2010.
Apart from the Lea Group, Sarawak is sponsored by Inai Kiara Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysian dredging company in which its chairman is a Sarawakian and also was Sarawak team manager in 2005.
Other previous sponsors including Air Asia.
During the 2011 the Sarawak team is being sponsored by Naim Cendera Holdings, a prominent real estate developer in Sarawak. Shin Yang Group is yet another large corporation in Sarawak to sponsor the state team for 2011. Both of the mentioned sponsors emblem can be seen on the Sarawak 2011 kit. The current 2011 kit has migrated its brand to a lesser known Starsports brand. To many, the current kit resembles the glorious red & black stripe kit which has made Sarawak feared by many in the past. This season is the first time since 1987 that all M-League teams are to display their own sponsors rather than displaying the M-League's general sponsor like Dunhill and Celcom/TM in the past.

[edit] Players

[edit] Current Squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
*Registered with President's Cup team

[edit] President's Cup Team

For the president's cup squads, see Sarawak FA President's Cup Team.

[edit] Current coaching staff

ManagerNetherlands Robert Alberts
Assistant ManagerMalaysia
Head team coachNetherlands Robert Alberts
Assistant coachMalaysia Mohd Farhan Abdullah
Reserve team coachMalaysia Shamsurin Abdul Rahman
Goalkeeping coachMalaysia Mohd Azley Abdullah
PhysiotherapistMalaysia Baharuddin Ahmad Sharif
Kit managerMalaysia

[edit] Former players

[edit] Former Import Players

[edit] Coaches

[edit] Fansupport

Sarawak FA is supported by two separate fan organisations, the Sarawak Football Fan Club (SFFC) and the Ultracrocs. The latter consider themselves to be an Ultra-group after European and South American example. The official online supporters community via facebook called themself "Penyokong Bolasepak Sarawak" (Sarawak Soccer Supporters).

Before 2011 Malaysia Cup started, Gallore Buceros was form by 3 entities fan groups, Sayotters Fan Network (Sayotters), Sarawak Soccer Supporters (S3) and Crocs Attack. Gallore Buceros also one of Ultras Malaya sub-groups. Gallore Buceros, mainly wearing their owns red shirts and brings drum to supported Sarawak football team with singing over 10 chants per game. Gallore Buceros also new baby of Ultras Malaya sub-groups.


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