KUCHING: The Sarawak Softball Association (SSA) had formed shadow teams in preparation for Sukma XVI to be held in Kuala Lumpur from June 28 to July 7.
SSA president Ishak Chin Abdullah yesterday said there are 27 players in the men’s shadow team and 26 in the women’s shadow team.
“The players were selected based on their performance at the Sukma Selection Tournament held in Miri recently… by March we shall finalise the 17 players each for the men’s and women’s teams,” he said.
Ishak said the selected players will first train at their respective divisions and gather for centralised training in middle of May or third week of May at Kuching and Miri centres.
He is quite confident that softball will get the nod from MSNS for SSA to participate at Sukma XVI.
“We have submitted our application to the council last week and I learnt that MSNS will be holding a meeting end of February to decide on the inclusion of other sports,” he added.
Ishak said he had also spoken to the MSNS’ director Francis Nyurang Ding on the matter and the latter had given his support for softball to be competed under category C.
“I have also written a letter to request MSNS to reinstate softball in category B because the sport is now under a different sports association which has a better management and experienced team,” he said.
According to him, softball was under Sarawak Baseball and Softball Association during the 2011 Sukma XIV in Kuala Lumpur.
“That sports association has been deregistered by the Sarawak Sports Commissioner and SSA is now the governing body for softball in the state…after SSA took over, softball activities have also improved,” Ishak said.
Furthermore, he feels that the present crop of players are more experienced and of better quality when compared to those two years ago.
“I am quite confident that with all the best players, we can finish as the top three teams in the softball competition,” he enthused.
He expressed hope for parents of the seven to eight key players in the selected teams to give their support and allow their children play for the state.
Another plus factor would be the expected appointment of SSA’s present Filipino coach Manuel Bacarisas by MSNS.
“Bacarisas had accepted MSNS’ offer and we hope that he can start work next month,” said Ishak on Bacarisas who had been coaching SSA players in Miri since last November.
“If we have sufficient funds, Bacarisas can also come down to Kuching to train the players based there,” he added.
To date, MSNS have confirmed that Sarawak will be participating in 12 sports namely judo, table tennis, futsal (men’s), bodybuilding, muay thai, fencing, indoor volleyball (women’s), artistic gymnastics, cricket, basketball, handball (men’s) and rugby.