Sabah FA

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Sabah FA
Full name Sabah Football Association
Nickname(s) Sabah Rhinos
Founded 1963; 52 years ago (1963)
Ground Likas Stadium
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Ground Capacity 35,000[1]
Chairman Musa Aman
Manager Goh Thian Chuan
League Malaysia Premier League
2015 Malaysia Premier League, 7th
Website Club home page

The Sabah Football Association is an football association 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 Malaysia Premier League.

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 Malaysia Premier League 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 Malaysia Premier League 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 Premier League, 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 Malaysia Premier League 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 they was failed to qualify to the group stage of the 2012 Malaysia Cup.

Sabah started their 2013 season back in Malaysia Premier League (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 worser 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, Eamond Zayed plus Singaporean striker Fazrul Nawas. 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.


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 Malaysia Premier League.

Kit manufacturers and Shirt Sponsors[edit]

Period Kit manufacturers Shirt sponsors
2011–2015 Adidas Graceone

Club culture[edit]


  • North Borneo Ultras (NBU)
  • since 1997 (Official)
  • The Sabahawks


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)
Malaysia Premier League
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


Year Position League FA Cup Malaysia Cup
1995 5/15 Premier League
1996 Champion Premier League Quarter final
1997 3/15 Premier League 2nd Round Group Stage
1998 5/12 Premier League
1999 4/10 Premier 1
Group Stage
2000 11/12 Premier 1 1st Round Group Stage
Premier 2
Group Stage
2002 3/14 Premier 1 Quarter-final
2003 4/13 Premier 1
2004 6/8 Super League Quarter-final
2005 8/8 Super League Quarter-final Group Stage
2006 4/8 Premier League (Group B) 1st Round Group Stage
2007 6/11 Premier League Quarter-final
2008 4/13 Premier League Quarter-final Group Stage
2009 9/13 Premier League 1st Round Group Stage
Premier League 1st Round Group Stage
2011 10/14 Super League 1st Round
2012 13/14 Super League 1st Round DNQ
2013 5/12 Premier League 2nd Round DNQ
2014 8/12 Premier League 2nd Round DNQ
2015 7/12 Premier League 1st Round DNQ

Performances In The Regional Tournaments[edit]

1996: Round of 16


No. Name Nationality Position
1 Irwan Jamil Malaysia GK
22 Mohd Fazli Paat Malaysia GK
25 Endre S.Tipay Malaysia GK
3 Mohd Khairi Kiman Malaysia LB
12 Julamri Muhammad Malaysia LB
13 Mohd Badrul Afendy Mohd Fadzli Malaysia CB
15 Rosdin Wasli Malaysia CB
16 Hardy Charles Parsi Malaysia CB, LB
20 Alto Linus Malaysia RB, RM, RW, LM, LW
34 Rawilson Batuil Malaysia CB, DM
49 Faizol Nazlin Sayuti Malaysia CB, DM
10 Mohd Ezaidy Khadar Malaysia LM, LW, RM, RW
14 Jenius Karib Malaysia DM, RB
2 Zuraindey Jumai Malaysia DM, CM, RB
18 Shafuan Adli Shaari Malaysia CM
19 R. Surendran Malaysia RM, RW, ST
26 Muhd Izuan Salahuddin Malaysia LM, LW, RM, RW
27 Maxsius Musa Malaysia RM, RW
37 Azzizan Nordin Malaysia CM, DM
48 Mohd Rozaimi Azwar Mat Noor Malaysia CM, AM
17 Leopold Alphonso Malaysia ST,AM, RM,RW,RB
23 Muhammad Shafiq Jamal Malaysia ST


Transfer In 2015[edit]

For recent transfers, see List of Malaysian football transfers 2015


Pos. Name From
DL Malaysia Mohd Khairi Kiman Malaysia Perak FA
DC Senegal Abdoulaye Faye England Hull City A.F.C.
DC Malaysia Abdul Thaufiq Abdul Haq Malaysia Cebagoo F.C.
DLC Malaysia Hardy Charles Parsi Malaysia Johor Darul Ta'zim II F.C.
DMC Malaysia Zuraindey Jumai Malaysia Kedah FA
MC Malaysia M. Yogananthan Malaysia Perak FA
MC Malaysia Shafuan Adli Shaari Malaysia PKNS F.C.
AML Malaysia Muhd Izuan Salahuddin Malaysia Sime Darby F.C.
AMR/ST Malaysia R. Surendran Malaysia Perak FA
ST Libya Éamon Zayed Republic of Ireland Shamrock Rovers F.C.
ST Malaysia Muhammad Shafiq Jamal Malaysia Sime Darby F.C.
AM/ST/RW Australia Joel Chianese New Zealand Auckland City FC
DC/DM Malaysia Faizol Nazlin Sayuti Malaysia Kelantan FA (Loan)
AM/CM Malaysia Mohd Rozaimi Azwar Malaysia Kelantan FA (Loan)


Pos. Name To
DRC Malaysia Dendy Lowa Malaysia Released
DC Malaysia Mohd Reithaudin Awang Emran Malaysia Retired
DC Croatia Predrag Pocuca Singapore Tampines Rovers FC
D/MR Malaysia Mohd Shahrul Chankui Malaysia Released
DMC Malaysia Mohd Redzuan Nawi Malaysia Penang FA
AML Malaysia Isma Alif Mohd Salim Malaysia PDRM FA
MC Malaysia Sabri Sahar Malaysia Sarawak FA
AMC Brazil Andrezinho Released
ST Malaysia Rexjeson Pitirus Malaysia Malacca United F.C.
ST Malaysia Mohd Farid Ideris Malaysia Young Fighters F.C.
AMRC/ST Malaysia Zainizam Marjan Malaysia Released
ST Syria Marwan Sayedeh Malaysia Released
ST Liberia Jerome Suku Doe Laos Lao Toyota F.C.
AMR/ST Singapore Fazrul Nawaz Singapore Warriors FC
DC Malaysia Abdul Thaufiq Abdul Haq Malaysia Malacca United S.A. April Transfer
MC Malaysia M. Yoganathan Real Mulia F.C. April Transfer
LW/ST MalaysiaRozaimi Abdul Rahman Released

Season 2014 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 Mohd Fazrul Iman Malan Malaysia GK 25/5/95
22 Masran Masri Malaysia GK 18/2/96
25 Datu Mohd Armin Datu Muhammad Malaysia GK 16/3/95
2 Mohd Azfizam Norli Malaysia RB,RWB 13/11/95
3 Mohd Nazrien Sani Malaysia CB 6/2/94
4 Mohd Zulfadlisham Roseland Malaysia RB,RWB 13/9/95
5 Randy Baruh Samson Malaysia LB,LWB 19/6/95
11 Mohd Ikhmal Akid Bahari Malaysia LB, LM 28/7/95
13 Amirjan Yunus Malaysia CB 1995
14 Rafis Etin Malaysia CB 1995
15 Zulhafiz Abdul Mahal Malaysia CB 24/10/95
20 Rawilson Batuil Malaysia CB 29/4/94
23 Dyrrance Junaidih Malaysia CB 4/11/95
6 O'Neil Shanahan Marcellinus Bungkilan Malaysia LM, LW, ST 4/2/96
7 Mohd Ashrafi Abdan Malaysia CM 18/4/94
8 Mohd Azwan Abdul Fattah Malaysia RM, RW, ST 1994
10 Hafizan Jahar Malaysia RM, RW, LM, LW 3/2/94
16 Mohd Khosnol Amat Malaysia DMC,MC 1994
19 Ummareng Bacok Malaysia CM 7/6/94
24 Mohd Fazzrey Karim Malaysia LM, LW 14/4/95
Fazriel Hanafi Stepanus Malaysia AMC,CM 15/5/96
9 Saliun Mastar Malaysia ST,AMC 14/10/95
12 Josesua Jubin Malaysia ST, LW 8/7/95
17 Ridzuan Raymond Malaysia ST 7/7/94
21 Rahman Shah Marajeh Malaysia ST 10/7/96

U19 team[edit]

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

No. Position Player
3 Malaysia DF Masmilan Anil Matlan
4 Malaysia DF Ranilson Batuil
5 Malaysia DF Mohd Sellehudin Akmad
6 Malaysia MF Mohd Syazwan Roslan
7 Malaysia MF Rickson Pang Tabias
8 Malaysia MF Mohd Juraidi Lijas
9 Malaysia FW Mohd Syazwan Jamain
10 Malaysia FW Fazrel Hanafi Stepanus
12 Malaysia MF Mohd Fuad Amin
13 Malaysia DF Mohd Yusri Abdullah
14 Malaysia DF Bellry Renno Ripin
15 Malaysia MF Malik Jukup
18 Malaysia FW Mohd Reezam Roslee
No. Position Player
19 Malaysia FW Masrani Mohd Asri
20 Malaysia MF Fazrian Shah Azri
21 Malaysia FW Mohd Zaki Sapri
22 Malaysia GK Mohd Sakri Masri
23 Malaysia FW Yussedy Yusman
24 Malaysia DF Mohd Ramzainee Ramlee
25 Malaysia GK Mazlan Norli
26 Malaysia FW Nik Mohd Ileyzley Rosley
28 Malaysia DF Jeniun Karib
42 Malaysia MF Mohd Shahrul Asmadin
44 Malaysia DF Mohd Yazid Abdul Rashid
45 Malaysia DF Mohd Aidil Shahrolmizan Asimin


Current coaching staff[edit]

Position Name
Chairman Malaysia Musa Aman
Deputy chairman 1 Malaysia Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan
Deputy chairman 2 Malaysia Lawrence Limbang
C.E.O Malaysia Datuk Goh Thian Chuan
Manager Malaysia Datuk Goh Thian Chuan
Technical Director Malaysia Justin Ganai
Head Coach
Assistant Coach Serbia Burhan Ajui
Coach Malaysia Jelius Ating
Goalkeeping coach Malaysia Mohd Noor Abdullah @ Francis Xaverius Sanga
Fitness coach Malaysia Andrew Majanggim
Physiotherapist Malaysia Matlan Basir
U21 Manager Malaysia Datuk Juil Nuatim
U21 Head team coach Malaysia Gopalkrishnan a/l Ramasamy
U21 Assistant coach Malaysia Awang Sabtu Jamil
U21 coach Malaysia Matasan Ahmad
U21 Goalkeeping coach Malaysia Mark Damun Sagar
U21 Fitness coach Malaysia Rozlee Idris
U21 Physiotherapist Malaysia James Edwin
U19 Manager Malaysia Othman Abdullah
U19 Head team coach Malaysia Mohd Razali Zinin
U19 Assistant coach Malaysia Ahmad Fakhrurazi Hamzah
U19 Goalkeeping coach Malaysia Jasrin Jabidin
U19 Physiotherapist Malaysia Azirul Hassan
Massuer Malaysia Mr. Hu
Kitman Malaysia Anizam Zainudin


For recent transfers, see List of Malaysian football transfers 2015

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]


External links[edit]