Shahrol deserves better treatment, says Joseph

Former Crocs skipper expresses concern over future of S’wak players

Joseph controls the ball during training with Super League club Selangor.

KUCHING: Former Sarawak captain Joseph Kalang Tie is saddened to hear rumours that his close friend Shahrol Saperi’s contract with the Crocs will not be renewed this year due to an injury.

“His wife delivered their third child three weeks ago, I am very sad for him, for his family,” he told The Borneo Post from Selangor.

Joseph, who signed up for Super League team Selangor, said Shahrol deserves better treatment from Football Association of Sarawak (FAS) for his sacrifice and undivided loyalty to the state team.

Shahrol, Joseph and Zamri Morshidi were among three youngsters identified by FAS many years ago, and sent for a training stint in England.

Shahrol Saperi

Unlike Joseph and Zamri who moved to play for other professional teams in Peninsular Malaysia, Shahrol continued playing for Sarawak regardless of the team’s position in the M-League.

“Shahrol is more senior than me, he is more than a friend to me, I am very saddened to hear of what happened to him. He deserves better treatment,” stressed Joseph, fondly addressed by Sarawak fans as ‘JKT’ or ‘el-Kapitan’ – the youngest player to become Sarawak captain at the age 21 in his heyday.

JKT moved to Terengganu from 2010 to 2013 before returning to Sarawak for three years, and then moved back to Terengganu, played for Pahang last season and signed up for the Red Giants this year.

He stressed that his statement was not meant to attack anyone but just to express his concern for the fate of Sarawak players in the future.

“Yes, in modern football players’ welfare is taken care for. Maybe the FA give him a new contract, pay him certain amount of salary, not necessarily full salary. Furthermore, for a player of his stature, playing so many years for Sarawak, he deserves to be accorded a job upon retirement,” Joseph lamented.

JKT’s posting on Facebook yesterday drew barrage of comments from Sarawak fans demanding for FAS to look into Shahrol’s plight.

“I know many people are going to hate me for what I said on Facebook but I am just telling the truth. Shahrol is my best friend, I care for him and his family.

“The issue is not about Shahrol alone, it can happen to anybody in the future. I am very concerned for the future of Sarawak players.

“We must do something for Sarawak players, especially for future players,” he stressed.

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