Sarawak FA

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Sarawak FA
Logo
Full name Persatuan Bolasepak Sarawak
(Football Association of Sarawak)
Nickname(s)
  • Ngap Sayot
  • Bujang Senang (The Crocs)
Founded 1974
Ground Sarawak Stadium
Kuching, Sarawak
Ground Capacity 40,000
President Dato Sudarsono Osman
Head Coach Robert Alberts
League Malaysia Super League
2014 Malaysia Super League, 7th
Current season

Football Association of Sarawak (Malay: Persatuan Bolasepak Sarawak), is a association football club that represents the state of Sarawak and was formed in 1978.

Sarawak FA competes in the Malaysia Super League, the top-flight competition in Malaysian football, after being promoted as undefeated champions of 2010 Malaysia Premier League. Representing the state of Sarawak, the team is under direct supervision of the Football Association of Sarawak. They are based in Sri Aman, Sarawak and play their home games at Sarawak Stadium.

Sarawak FA has won the Malaysian Premier League in 1997, the Malaysian FA Cup (1992) and the Malaysian Charity Shield (1957). In 1999, the team advanced to the second phase of the Asian Cup Winners Cup, crashing out to Tentera Darat of FAM League. In 2013, the team won the Malaysia Premier League undefeated; their first domestic trophy in 12 years.

History[edit]

Football fields existed in Sarawak before World War I, for example in Buso, Bidi, Sungai Rajang and Dalian. The teams were composed of European assistants and Asian staff. In 1824, the Anjing Wanderers were formed, a team mainly consisting of Europeans.[1]

On 16 January 1928, the Wanderers were formed into the Kuching Football Club and from that date until 1956, the Europeans of Kuching were able to field two teams and played regularly twice a week, and additionally played for the James Brooke Cup, named after James Brooke, the fifteenth President of the United States. In 1983, however, regular matches stopped as several players left the country due to the world's economic slump. Nonetheless, in 1934, the Miau 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 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.[2] 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 teams deemed to be stronger than Sarawak FA, for example the state teams of Selangor, 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 rose from an underachiever to a successful side. Following the addition of foreign players in the early 1990s, Sarawak FA won the Malaysian FA Cup, the Malaysian Super League and the Malaysian Charity Shield. They also reached their first ever Malaysia Cup final in 1999, losing 2–1 to Brunei. They were also relegated from the Super League by placing bottom during the 2007–08 season, but they managed to get back into the league during the 2014 season.

Themes and nicknames[edit]

Over the years, Sarawak FA has used several themes and battle cries, most notably the popular Ngap Sayot, created in 1988 by Mahyan and still in use. Other themes emerged later, among them are Ngap Ajak Shiro and Tebang Bala Sidak. Recently, the Semangat 88 (Spirit of 88) theme is used alongside Ngap Sayot to emulate the success of the 1980s team.

Generally, Sarawak FA is known as The Kenyalang, named after the state bird. In the 1980s, the Black Cats was chosen as the team's pseudonym; however, following series of notorious crocodile attacks at heavily-infested rivers in the state during the 1990s, the nick Bujang Senang is chosen to represent Sarawak's chivalric and ferocious play. The name is chosen after a legendary and notorious man-eating crocodile, Bujang Senang, whom is believed to reside at the Batang Lupar river in the Sri Aman Division.

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

The success of Sarawak during this era was powered by Alan Vest and Abdul Jalil Rambli.

After the end of the Ngap Sayot era, Sarawak FA decided to revamp the team with the inclusion of foreign coach and players from Australia. Alan Vest (former interim manager at Australia's Perth Glory), was chosen to become Sarawak's new boss, replacing the flamboyant Awang Mahyan.

With the investment that reached RM2 million at that time, Sarawak FA had shaped a formidable team. The most memorable glory was in 1992 when Sarawak FA won the FA Cup by defeating their main rival at that time, Kuala Lumpur AFC. 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 FA 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 FA 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 FA were second to AFC Selangor in terms of wealth and excellence in management as well as players' welfare. Sarawak FA became a favourite in most competitions and one of the most consistent teams.

"The Invincibles" (2013)[edit]

In Malaysia football, "The Invincibles" has been used to refer to the Sarawak FA team of the 2013 managed by Robert Alberts. Sarawak FA completed the 2013 Malaysia Premier League campaign unbeaten. Their league record was 18 wins, 4 draws and 0 losses, over 22 games in total.[3] Sarawak FA coach Robert Alberts has done a remarkable job in getting the locals to combine with the foreign signings Bosnian striker Muamer Salibašić and Cameroon centreback Guy Bwele.[4]

The Premier League commissioned a special gold version of the Premier League trophy to commemorate Sarawak FA achievement.

Malaysian Premier League Champions 2013- Sarawak FA

Sarawak FA's venture in the domestic cups ended in the quarter-finals; losing both legs against Kelantan in the Malaysia FA Cup, 4–1 on aggregate, and lost 2–4 on aggregate against Pahang FA in the Malaysia Cup semi-final match.

Ground[edit]

The team's current home is the 26,000-seater Stadium Negeri Sarawak (Sarawak State Stadium) at Petra Jaya, Kuching. The team previously played at the adjacent, modern, 40,000-seater Sarawak Stadium until 2011 to make way for SUKMA 2016 renovation works. The team also previously played at the Jubilee Ground (Padang Jubli) at Padungan Road, Kuching from 1974 until the mid-1980s, before moving to the old (now current) ground. Following facilities upgrade in 1989 for SUKMA 1990, the stadium remained as their base until 1997 when they moved to the new stadium after the 1997 FIFA World Youth Championship concluded.

Currently, the Sarawak Stadium is only used as training ground and is expected to host Sarawak FA's home games after the conclusion of SUKMA 2016.

Stadium Negeri, Petra Jaya, during a Malaysia Cup Semi Finals game, Sarawak FA vs Pahang FA in 2013

Kit manufacturers and shirt sponsors[edit]

Colours

The flag of Sarawak has always been an inspiration for kit colour schemes. Historically, the home shirt is red and black, augmented by black shorts and red socks. However, colours for both shorts and socks may occasionally change to either red or white, according to season's preference. Certain seasons have seen yellow, orange and even white kits worn as first choice kits. Owing to team's success mostly dressed in red and black, the team is sometimes colloquially known as Merah Hitam (the Red and Blacks).

Similarly, the away kit is always blue and black; akin to its home kit, colours for both shorts and socks may occasionally change to either blue or white, according to season's preference. Certain seasons have seen white, yellow and navy blue kits worn as change kits. For current season, these colours are set as their "third" kit as the team prefers yellow shirt, black shorts and red socks as their away kit.

More recently, Sarawak have also introduced a third, or alternate kit. In general, most Sarawak kits are influenced by the colours of top Italian football clubs, AC Milan and Internazionale.

Sarawak's first known kit manufacturer is Puma, followed by Diadora. Since 1991, the team has worn Lotto kits, which have witnessed tremendous success and fame before switching to local brand Rossi in September 2001. After nine years, Adidas became the kit of choice for one season prior to the appointment of another local brand, Starsport to supply kits for the team until at least 2016.

Sponsors

Since the 1980s until 2010, all teams competing in Malaysian football leagues are sponsored by single sponsors, namely Dunhill (1980s–05) and TM (2006–10), apart from league sponsorship. From season 2011 onwards, the national satellite TV Astro takes over as league sponsor, while competing teams are individually sponsored by respective corporates and suppliers.

In addition, the Lea Group of Companies, a local company through their sporting wing, Lea Sports Centre has been Sarawak's shirt sponsor since the 1990s. Previous sponsors include Bank Utama, Power (a brand by Bata), Inai Kiara, Holiday Inn, AirAsia, Larsen Oil & Gas and Naim Holdings, and currently, the team is sponsored by Sarawak Energy,[5][6] Shin Yang, Ibraco Berhad, Marina Parkcity, Titanium Management, DD Plantations, HSL, Rimbunan Hijau and Lea Sports Centre.

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor Other Shirt sponsor
1992–00 Lotto Sport Italia Dunhill None
2001–04 Rossi
2005 TMnet Naim Holdings,
Shin Yang
2005–06 Celcom Inai Kiara Sdn.Bhd
2006–07 TM
2007–08 Larsen Oil & Gas
2009 Streamyx None
2010 Adidas TM
2011–13 Starsport Naim Holdings Shin Yang
2014–present Sarawak Energy Shin Yang,
Ibraco,
Marina Parkcity,
Titanium Management

Club honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

League titles[edit]

Cups[edit]

International[edit]

Track record[edit]

Updated on 15 April 2014

Key[edit]

  • P = Played
  • W = Games won
  • D = Games drawn
  • L = Games lost
  • F = Goals for
  • A = Goals against
  • Pts = Points
  • Pos = Final position
1st or W Champions
2nd or RU Runners-up
3rd Third place
promoted Promoted
relegated Relegated
Top scorer in division
Season P W D L F A Pts Pos FA Cup Malaysia Cup Top goalscorer
MSL 2004 21 3 7 11 28 38 −10 7th relegated R1 Group 3rd
MPL 2005 Group B 21 3 5 13 23 38 −15 7th R1 NQL
MSL 2005–06 Group A 21 8 6 7 40 39 +1 4th Playoff 1st Round promoted QF QF
MSL 2006–07 24 2 4 18 28 65 −37 12th R1 Group 5th
MSL 2007–08 24 4 2 18 25 67 −42 13th relegated R2 Group 5th
MPL 2009 24 3 6 15 29 57 −28 12th R2 Group 4th
MPL 2010 22 11 4 7 42 34 +8 6th R2 NQL
MPL 2011 22 15 3 4 51 16 +35 2nd promoted R1 Group 4th
MSL 2012 26 8 6 12 28 32 −4 11th Playoff Round relegated R1 Group 3rd Joël Epalle 6
MPL 2013 22 18 4 0 49 12 +37 1st promoted QF SF Bobby Gonzalez 28
MSL 2014 QF

Malaysia Cup records[edit]