KUCHING: Sarawak players will soldier on – at least for now despite not receiving any word on payment of their outstanding salaries.
Although all they can wish for at this time is ‘some Gawai gift’, they have decided to wait and see a while longer and not turn their back on the team. According to current coach David Usop, the players are carrying on for the sake of Dutchman Robert Alberts who they look up to not only as coach but also mentor.
“It’s the way Robert (Alberts) treated them, especially how he fought for their rights. This has endeared him to the team,” he said.
David revealed that the players were disheartened by a press statement a few days ago that the government would not help them with their salary problems but he advised the players to take one step at a time and not be hasty. “Despite all they have been through, their morale is still high … all of us are in this together. We have never failed to turn up for training,” he said.
The team are now second from the bottom of the Premier League table with seven points – one place above SDM Kepala Batas who have only three.
Sarawak seem destined to remain second last for the rest of the season unless their situation improves. To date, some of the players are owed three months’ pay and though some payments were made last month, overall, there has been little change.
It is understood that some form of advanced salaries were paid out yesterday for Gawai which some of the players and the coach will be celebrating. The players have taken a break from training and those from outstation will return to their hometowns shortly.
Training resumes on June 4. David said he was still keeping in touch with Alberts who quit as coach early this month. “He has been very accommodating in giving tactical advice to Sarawak before each match,” he added.
David said he followed the game plan from Alberts in the last match against Selangor Proton FC although he made some tactical modifications to suit the changing circumstances.
Sarawak will likely play their next match at home to Shahzan Muda of Pahang on June 19 but what about their away match against Felda FC after that? That could well be another story.