Sabah FA

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Full name Sabah Football Association
Persatuan Bola Sepak Sabah
Nickname(s) Sang Badak (The Rhinos)
Founded 1963; 54 years ago (1963)
Ground Likas Stadium
Ground Capacity 35,000[1]
Chairman Musa Aman
Manager Datuk Juil Nuatim
Coach Jelius Ating
League Liga Premier
2016 Liga Premier, 9th
Website Club home page

Sabah FA (Malay: Persatuan Bolasepak Sabah) is a football club that supervises football in the state of Sabah. The association's football team competes in Malaysia's football league representing the state of Sabah in Borneo. Sabah is a professional football team and one of the 14 state teams of the Malaysian football structure. They currently competes in Malaysia's second division professional football league, the Liga Premier.

The team's home matches are played at the 35,000 capacity Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah.


North Borneo football team became the first season winner of the Borneo Cup in 1962, one year before the merger to form Malaysia.

In the 1950s until 1963 Sabah competed as North Borneo football team in the Borneo Cup together with Sarawak football team and Brunei national football team. The North Borneo Football Association (NBFA) changed its name to Sabah Football Association (Sabah FA). Sabah qualify into the Malaysia Cup for the first time in 1977 and enter the competition in 1978.

Amateur and Semi-pro Era[edit]

Sabah was a well known team during the Malaysian football amateur and semi-pro era as state team produced many quality players namely the trio of James Wong, Hassan Sani and Peter Rajah. These players during their time led Sabah to become one of Malaysian football's most feared teams during the 80's.

One fine example was during the 1979 Malaysian League where Sabah started slowly. After a run of 8 matches, they stood with 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses but, during the later stages they stepped up a gear or five by winning all their remaining 8 matches with most of them by huge margins, including an incredible 8–0 thrashing of Sarawak, 11–0 hammering of Perak FA and the 6–1 beating of Terengganu FA. At the end of the season, Sabah finished as runners-up behind Singapore FA and became the highest scoring team with 49 goals in 12 games, which is an average of 3 goals per game.[2]

In 1991, Sabah striker Matlan Marjan became the first Malaysia to score a double against England in 'A' international matches on 12 June 1991.[3]

Professional Era[edit]

When professional football was introduced by Football Association of Malaysia, Sabah also made a reputation of being one of the Malaysian League's most competitive teams. Quality professional players were produced from the ranks during the 1990s, most notably Matlan Marjan who helped Sabah finish as runners-up during 1993 and 1994 Malaysia FA Cup, and who at one time was appointed as the national team captain by the then Malaysian national team coach Claude Le Roy.

The positive results gained from the beginning of professional era however was cut short by the match fixing scandal that rocked Malaysian football in 1994. The scandal almost destroyed Sabah and Malaysian football in general. Sadly, Matlan was the one of several players found guilty for being involved in the scandal. As a punishment for their involvement in match fixing, he and the other players were banned for life by FIFA from being involved in football.

After the scandal, Sabah began its rebuilding process to regain their reputation in Malaysian football. Sabah won their first professional trophy, the Malaysia FA Cup in 1995. In the 1996 season, Sabah won their first league title and went through to the final of the Malaysia Cup for the first time but were beatened by Selangor FA on penalties.

The 2000 season could be considered as Sabah's worst since joining the Malaysian professional league. They were relegated to the second division and could not get past the group stages of the Malaysia Cup. However, Sabah quickly regained its performance in the 2001 season where they finished as runners-up behind Johor FC.[4]

In the 2002 season, Sabah lining up players of calibre such as Zainizam Marjan, Khairul Azman Mohamed, and foreign striker Josiah Seton, finished third in the league and again managed to get through to the final of Malaysia Cup by beating Selangor Public Bank and Perak FA. Sabah however finished as runners-up yet again by losing to the same team that beat them in 1996 final, Selangor FA. This time, Sabah lost by 'golden goal' scored by Mohd Amri Yahyah.[5]

In 2003, Sabah again finished third in Liga Premier One. Sabah again reached the final of Malaysia Cup. This time they lost to club-side Selangor MPPJ by 3–0, with hattrick from Juan Manuel Arostegui.

When Malaysian Super League was introduced in 2004, Sabah struggled to be competitive against other teams in the top league. Sabah only managed to stay in Super League for two seasons as they were relegated to Liga Premier for the 2005/06 season.

After the relegation to 2nd tier league, Sabah continued to struggle for promotion to get back into the top division. They lost to Pahang FA in the 2006/07 season play-off for a place in 2007/08 Malaysia Super League.

After 6 years playing in the 2nd tier Liga Premier, Australian coach Gary Phillips was able to guide Sabah to promotion in 2010 – his first season in charge. After poor results which have affected Sabah's performance in the 2011 league and also the cup, Gary Phillips was replaced by Justin Ganai to save Sabah from relegation zone. Ganai improved Sabah FA performance in 2011 Malaysia Cup where the team reached the quarterfinals. Justin Ganai retained as Head Coach for the 2012 MSL season but step down as the league game were 2 games left. Sabah also relegated back to Liga Premier after lose to Kedah in play-off match by which Pahang (was MPL side) won the play-off. Salt was added to the wound as the relegation was followed by them failing to qualify to the group stage of the 2012 Malaysia Cup.

Sabah started their 2013 season back in Liga Premier (2nd tier) as their main defenders, Sipitang duo Ronny Harun and Mafry Ballang left for Borneo rival, Sarawak FA and young striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman was loaned out to Harimau Muda A. 2013 season was led by Northern Irishman, David McCreery and they end up in 5th place but still available for Malaysia Cup play-off by which they lose heavily 4–0 to Negeri Sembilan at Shah Alam Stadium. McCreery left at the end of the season with disappointment.

2014 saw major changes in the team's sponsorship by which local brand Carino was signed as their kit supplier and Ararat Sports plus BSA as their sponsors. During this season, Sabah ex-player and also a legend in 90's, Milomir Seslija become their Head Coach replacing McCreery in the hot seat. National striker, Rozaimi and winger/midfielder Maxsius Musa also returned after their loan to Harimau Muda A and Harimau Muda B respectively finished. But to no avail, they finished 8th out of 12 in the MPL, missed the Malaysia Cup group stage for third consecutive seasons and also kicked out from FA Cup in the early stage. This was worse than the 2013 season. Milomir's contract was not renewed at the end of the season.

Dioufmania and TC Goh came back as manager (2015)[edit]

Just after 2014 season finished, another major changes was made by which George O'Callaghan was signed as their Technical Director and Justin Ganai is back as temporary head coach. Dato' TC Goh also came as team manager by which he and O'Callaghan makes a big signings. Carino remained as their kit supplier but only for the women team, futsal team, President Cup and U19 team. Adidas, Globaltech, UZMA, Grace One, BSA and Ararat Sports are their current sponsors. Sabah FA successfully signed twice African Player of The Year,El-Hadji Diouf and his compatriot Abdoulaye Faye followed by Liberian, Éamon Zayed plus Singaporean striker Fazrul Nawaz. Fazrul and O'Callaghan were released early in the season few weeks before MPL kick off. Fazrul was replaced with Joel Chianese during the mid-season transfer window in April and O'Callaghan was replaced with Brisbane Roar ex-head coach Mike Mulvey in February 2015. Both Mulvey and Chianese are Australian. After 3 games working as Technical Director, Mike Mulvey was appointed as Sabah FA new head coach as Justin Ganai went back to the President Cup team. During this current season, fans began to fill and flood Likas Stadium as few of their home matches were full house. But as the seasons passing by, Sabah FA lose mostly of their matches during the second half of the season. Diouf's problem along with his dismissal during few of Sabah's matches thus allowing youngster Leopold and Rawilson respectively to skip the team. Promising start of 2015 season end with huge disappointment for the team as they sit at 7th place, missing Malaysia Cup automatic slot and also the play-off. CEO, TC Goh, Mike Mulvey and big name players such as Diouf, Zayed, Faye and Chianese plus local golden boy, Rozaimi Abdul Rahman left at the end of the season due to no contract renewal.


Likas Stadium, the home stadium for Sabah FA.

Likas Stadium is the current home ground for Sabah FA. Penampang Stadium is occasionally used for afternoon matches, usually when Likas Stadium was renovated or if floodlights require maintenance. Tawau Sports Complex is a regular venue that is only used sometimes for the Liga Premier.


Season Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
2005 Line 7[disambiguation needed] TM
2005-06 TM Net
2006-07 TM
2007-08 Celcom
2009 Streamyx
2010 Carino TM
2011 Adidas None
2013 Graceone
2014 Carino BSA
2015 Adidas Globaltec
2016 Sabah Energy & Asian Supply Base

Club culture[edit]


  • The Rhinos Troops
  • Tawau City Hoodlum (TCH)
  • North Borneo Ultras (NBU)
  • since 1997
  • Kelab Penyokong Sabah Rhino
  • sabah football fans club
  • Bola Sepak Sabah


Sabah FA was formerly called the Rhinos since the golden 90s era but in 2010 SAFA changed the mascot to Hawks to rebrand the ailing football team.[6] It was a controversial move as Kuala Lumpur FA was already known as the Hawks.[7] Sabah FA reinstated its name as the Rhinos starting from 2015.[8]


Sabah FA neighbouring rival is Sarawak FA with both claiming the title of 'the best in Borneo' and referred to as the Borneo Derby.


Radio coverage of regular season matches are broadcast on Sabah FM 89.9 in Malay language.


Malaysia Cup
1996, 2002, 2003
Malaysia Super League (1x)
Liga Premier
2001, 2010
Malaysia FA Cup (1x)
1993, 1994, 1998
Malaysian Charity Shield
Borneo Cup (14x)
1962, 1963, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972
1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985

Club records[edit]

Update on 21 April 2017.


  • Pld = Played, W = Won, D = Drawn, L = Lost, F = Goals for, A = Goals against, Pts= Points, Pos = Position

  1st or Champions   2nd or Runner-up   3rd place   Promotion   Relegation

Season League Cup Asia
Division Pld W D L F A D Pts Pos Charity Malaysia FA Competition Result
1995 Liga Perdana 28 13 5 10 60 45 +15 44 5th Semi-finals Champions Asian Cup Winners' Cup Round of 16
1996 Liga Perdana 28 17 7 4 49 21 +28 58 1st Runner-up Runner-up Quarter-finals
1997 Liga Perdana 28 14 7 7 42 28 +14 49 3rd Group stage 2nd round
1998 Perdana 1 22 8 7 7 22 26 -4 31 5th Semi-finals Runner-up
1999 Perdana 1 18 6 7[a] 5 20 20 +0 29 4th Group stage Semi-finals
2000 Perdana 1 22 4 4 14 22 41 -19 16 11th Group stage 1st round
2001 Perdana 2 22 14 3 5 41 22 +19 45 2nd Group stage Semi-finals
2002 Perdana 1 26 13 8 5 48 30 +18 47 3rd Runner-up Quarter-finals
2003 Perdana 1 24 10 8 6 34 22 +12 38 4th Runner-up Semi-finals
2004 Super League 21 4 5 12 22 35 -13 17 6th Semi-finals Quarter-finals
2005 Super League 21 6 4 11 25 39 -14 22 8th Group stage Quarter-finals
2005–06 Liga Premier 21 7 7 7 32 31 +1 28 4th Group stage 1st round
2006–07 Liga Premier 20 6 9 5 26 21 +5 27 5th Semi-finals Quarter-finals
2007–08 Liga Premier 24 13 5 6 48 27 +21 44 4th Group stage Quarter-finals
2009 Liga Premier 24 5 7 12 18 31 -13 22 9th Group stage 1st round
2010 Liga Premier 22 15 3 4 42 14 +28 48 2nd Group stage 1st round
2011 Super League 26 7 7 12 24 32 -8 28 10th Quarter-finals 1st round
2012 Super League 26 7 7 12 33 52 -19 28 13th Not qualified 1st round
2013 Liga Premier 22 9 3 10 42 46 -4 30 5th Not qualified 2nd round
2014 Liga Premier 22 6 6 10 21 30 -9 24 7th Not qualified 2nd round
2015 Liga Premier 22 8 3 11 37 42 -5 27 7th Not qualified 1st round
2016 Liga Premier 22 5 5 12 26 41 -15 20 9th Not qualified 3rd round
2017 Liga Premier Quarterfinals


  1. ^ Draw were followed by penalty shootouts for an additional point.

Performances In The Regional Tournaments[edit]

1995: Round of 16


First-team squad[edit]

As of 09 June 2017

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Malaysia GK Mohd Sakri Masri
22 Malaysia GK Robson Rendy Rining
30 Malaysia GK Rozaimie Rohim
3 Malaysia DF Rawilson Batuil (Captain)
4 Malaysia DF Dendy Lowa
5 Croatia DF Igor Čerina Injured
11 Malaysia DF Alto Linus
14 Malaysia DF Jenius Karib
15 Malaysia DF Randy Baruh Samson
16 Malaysia DF Azlan Zainal
25 Zambia DF Francis Kasonde
8 Malaysia MF Azzizan Nordin
9 South Korea MF Lee Kil-Hoon
13 South Korea MF Heo Jae Nyeong
18 Malaysia MF Saliun Mastar Injured
19 Malaysia MF Ummareng Bacok
No. Position Player
20 Malaysia MF Ricco Nigel Milus
21 Malaysia MF Radzi Mohd Hussin
27 Malaysia MF Sabri Sahar
28 Malaysia MF Mohd Azwan Abdul Fattah
31 Malaysia MF O'Neil Shanahan Marcellinus Bungkilan
10 Serbia FW Rodoljub Paunović
17 Malaysia FW Leopold Alphonso
23 Malaysia FW Maxius Musa
26 Malaysia FW Rahman Shah Marajeh
35 Malaysia FW Hamran Peter


For recent transfers, see List of Malaysian football transfers 2017 and List of Malaysian football transfers summer 2016

Season 2017 President's Cup team[edit]

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

Sabah President's Cup Squad[edit]

No. Name Nationality Position D.O.B
1 Mazlan Norli Malaysia GK 29/4/97
22 Masran Masri Malaysia GK 18/2/96
25 Tekson Tubeng Malaysia GK 14/6/96
2 Sullan Elvis Noh Malaysia RB,RWB 1997
3 Ranilson Batuil Malaysia CB 21/11/97
5 Mohd Syahrafiezaim Samli Malaysia RB,RWB 1996
6 Mohd Sahri Abdul Razak Malaysia CB 1996
9 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Malaysia LB, LM,LW 1997
12 Devid Ansarui Malaysia RB,RM 28/2/96
16 Eddey Ladius Malaysia LB,LWB 1997
17 Mohd Jayman Mohd Jaymic Malaysia CB 1996
20 Masmilan Anil Matlan Malaysia CB 15/7/96
28 Mohd Syafiq Mohd Salleh Malaysia CB 2000
30 Mohd Danishaizz Anuar Malaysia CB,DM 1997
4 Dexy Mildy Juanis Malaysia CM 12/12/96
7 Stanley Sulong Malaysia AM,CM 18/2/97
8 Mohd Radzji Saad Malaysia DM,CM 1997
13 Mohd Nur Khairuddin Herlambang Malaysia RM, RW, LM, LW 1997
14 Mohd Nazri Sisa Malaysia LM, LW 1997
15 Syafiq Suhaimi Malaysia CM 1996
21 Fazriel Hanafi Stepanus Malaysia AM,CM 15/5/96
24 Mohd Ramzainee Ramlee Malaysia CM 24/7/97
26 O'Neil Shanahan Marcellinus Bungkilan Malaysia LM, LW, ST 4/2/96
27 Mohd Azmizan Ruslih Malaysia CM 1/7/98
29 Mohd Zaki Sapri Malaysia CM 29/1/97
10 Hamran Peter Malaysia ST 6/6/97
11 Mohd Hazani Matusin Malaysia ST 1997
18 Abdul Raihan Abdul Rajum Malaysia ST 1998
23 Yussedy Yusman Malaysia ST 11/2/97

Source:[11] Source:[12] Source:[13]

U19 team[edit]

No. Name Nationality Position D.O.B
1 Joslan Aping Malaysia GK 1999
25 Mohd Ramzi Mustakim Malaysia GK 1999
30 Junloyck Pini@Andawat Malaysia GK 1998
2 Kelvin Pengiran Malaysia RB/RWB 28/10/98
3 Gerald Gadit Malaysia CB 1999
4 Jeniun Karib Malaysia LB/LWB 29/1/98
5 Evan Wensley Wenceslaus Malaysia CB 1998
13 Pican Piok Malaysia CB 1998
14 Muhammad Syahmil Nizam Igbal Khan Malaysia CB 1999
15 Mohd Naaim Firdaus Stibin Malaysia RB/RWB 1999
19 Sahrul Asnan Malaysia LB/LWB 1998
29 Mohd Shariman Mukarim Malaysia LB,LM 1998
6 Leonardo Lisua Malaysia RW/RM 1999
7 Mohd Aidil Safee Malaysia CM 30/1/98
8 Adi Ali Malaysia CM 3/4/98
11 Mohd Aidil Shahrolmizan Asimin Malaysia AM/CM 23/2/98
17 Muhammad Amirul Afiq Ali Malaysia LW/LM 1999
18 Shafiq Ichwan Saiman Malaysia RM/RW 2000
20 Beckham Rico Louisee Malaysia CM 1998
21 Mohd Syukri Baharun Malaysia CM 1999
22 Mohd Suzairee Samail Malaysia LM/LB 26/1/98
23 Mohd Asri Rustam Malaysia LW/LM 1998
24 Muhd Faqhrurazi Ahmad Malaysia RW/RM 1999
26 Muhd Aidil Muhimian Malaysia CM 1999
9 Mohd Hizaz Mohd Lokman Malaysia ST 2000
10 Mohd Iqhbal Kassim Malaysia ST 1999
12 Mohd Shah Mizie Abdul Rahim Malaysia ST 1998
16 Ariusdius Jais Malaysia ST 7/7/98
27 Ellend Child Henry Malaysia ST 1998
28 Muhammad Shahrul Nizam Junimin Malaysia ST 1999

Source:[14] Source:[15] Source:[16]

Current coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Chairman Malaysia Datuk Seri Musa Aman
Deputy chairman 1 Malaysia Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan
Deputy chairman 2 Malaysia Lawrence Gimbang
C.E.O Malaysia Datuk Goh Thian Chuan
Asst. Manager 1 Malaysia Hassan Sani
Asst. Manager 2 Malaysia James Wong
Technical Director Australia Scott Ollerenshaw
Head Coach Malaysia Jelius Ating
Asst. Coach Malaysia Burhan Ajui
Coach Malaysia Razali Zinin
GK coach Malaysia Mark Damun Sagar
Fitness coach France Alexandre Stiker
Physio Malaysia Matlan Basir
Head of Youth Development Malaysia R. Gopalkrishnan
U21 Manager Malaysia Datuk Juil Nuatim
U21 Head coach Malaysia Justin Ganai
U21 Asst. coach Malaysia Johnny Dominicus
U21 coach Malaysia Matasan Ahmad
U21 GK coach Malaysia Mohd Noor Xaverius Sanga@Francis Sanga
U21 Fitness coach Malaysia Muhammadin Abdul Ajid
U21 Physio Malaysia Halmond Ting
U19 Manager Malaysia Mohd Yassin Aman
U19 Head coach Malaysia Awang Sabtu Jamil
U19 Asst. coach Malaysia
U19 GK coach Malaysia Jasrin Jabidin
U19 Fitness coach Malaysia Awang Jasrie Awang Matusin
U19 Physio Malaysia Maxson Michael George
Massuer Malaysia
Kitman Malaysia Anizam Zainudin

Managers and coaches[edit]



Former notable players[edit]

Players that represented the Malaysia national football team while playing for Sabah.

Football Clubs[edit]

Affiliated Clubs within the Association[edit]

Affiliated Clubs outside the Association[edit]


  1. ^ "Football stadiums of the world – Stadiums in Asia - Football stadiums of the world". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  2. ^ "Rhinos Online : Liga Premier 1996". Archived from the original on 25 October 2009. Retrieved 2016-06-21. 
  3. ^ "EnglandFC 1990 to 1995". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  4. ^ "Malaysia 2001". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  5. ^ Nang Nanana (29 June 2007). "Amri Yahyah Golden Boy". Retrieved 21 June 2016 – via YouTube. 
  6. ^ "SABAHHAWKS – Sabah Rhinos". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  7. ^ "Sabah is now known as Sabahawks – Sabah Rhinos". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Diouf flies in for Sabah trials". Retrieved 21 June 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Sabah U21 2016". Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Sabah FA U21 2016". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  13. ^ "Sabah U21". Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  14. ^ "Sabah U19 2016". Retrieved 29 January 2016. 
  15. ^ "25 PEMAIN MUDA GALAS TUGAS SABAH DI MELAKA". sabahfa. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Sabah U19". Retrieved 25 February 2017. 

External links[edit]