Tuesday, March 19

Players must earn their spot, says President’s Cup coach

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The players with coaches, officials and guests in a group photo during the selection session yesterday.

MIRI: President’s Cup head coach Jalil Ramli says all players must earn and fight for their place in the team for the 2019 season.

There will be no automatic berth and Jalil also warned that there was no guarantee that players who donned the state colours last season would make the team this year.

Jalil said the players would be re-evaluated along with other hopefuls at selection trials.

“There is no privilege or direct ticket to get into the team, they have to perform well during the trials, and only the best will be selected,” he said when conducting trials session at Miri Stadium yesterday.

Jalil said they are looking for players that meet certain criteria, especially focusing ability and good decision making during the game.

“This morning (yesterday), we conducted an introductory session where players are taught on technique and position during play.

“In the evening session, they are divided into groups and played a full 90-minute game to see whether they are attentive to instructions,” he added.

Jalil was assisted by experienced coach Pengiran Bala and Abu Bakar Amran during the selection trials.

“My focus this time is more on the development of grassroots team; many have asked why I’m guiding the President’s Cup squad whereas I should be taking the senior team.

“For me, the development of young footballers is important because many of these players have the potential to go further,” he said.

Jalil said some of the youngsters have bright chance to make the senior team in the future, and hoped that they would play major roles in the squad, and not as bench warmers.

“That’s why we want to produce an ever-ready player who is well-prepared and able to carry the responsibility when playing with senior teams,” he explained.

Asked on his target for the new season, Jalil said he is not expecting much from the squad as his focus is more on developing quality players.

Meanwhile, Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni urged the youngsters to revive the glory days of football in Sarawak.

“We need to bring our state’s football to the top again and you as the younger players are the ones that will bring Sarawak’s name to the next level,” he told the players at the trials yesterday.

“I hope everyone will work hard, with strong sportsmanship and try your best during this selection process,” he added.

Lukanisman was accompanied by Miri District Officer Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof.

A total of 53 players aged 16 to 21 from all over Sarawak participated in the two-day selection trials which started yesterday.

Also present were Miri Football Association president Mohd Saif Jubaidi, Kapit Football Association president Nicole Agoi, team manager Nazri Ahmad Lai and goalkeeper coach Jahar Nor.

Sarawak will join 21 other teams in the youth-level league this season, which is expected to kick off in late February or early March. Miri will host Sarawak’s home matches this year.