Monday, 23 September 2013 | MYT 10:29 PM
Perak FA suspend players and officials after thrashing by Sarawak
Sarawak players celebrate after beating Perak 6-1 in Malaysia Cup match on Sept 21. — ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / The Star
GEORGE TOWN: The Perak FA (Pafa) have suspended all the players and officials of the state team with immediate effect in the wake of the 6-1 Malaysia Cup loss to Sarawak last Saturday.
Pafa are also going to lodge reports with the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and will be requesting both bodies to conduct investigations on the Perak squad.
The suspension of the entire squad, who include chief coach Mohd Azraai Khor, for two weeks was announced by Pafa deputy president Khairul Azwan Harun after chairing an emergency meeting in Ipoh on Monday.
“We suspect elements of sabotage and corruption had crept into the Perak squad over the last three or four matches, culminating in the disastrous 6-1 defeat by Sarawak on Saturday,” said Khairul, who is also the team manager.
“A special task force, headed by Pafa disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Ismail Sapian, has been formed and will be given two weeks to come up with the findings.
“While the investigations are going on, all the suspended players and officials will be asked not to leave Ipoh.”
Chief coach Azraai welcomed the probe and described Pafa’s drastic action as a good move.
“There was something fishy going on in the team.
“It is good that Pafa are taking action to find out what is happening.
“I welcome the probe on everybody in the squad, including myself, as we will know if there were unlawful elements involved,” said Azraai.
After a flying start to their Malaysia Cup Group D campaign, Perak had only needed to win one of their final three group matches to qualify for the last eight.
Instead, they lost to Lions XII (2-1), Kedah (1-0) and Sarawak (6-1) to crash out of the competition.
“The defeat to Sarawak was the biggest in my career. I knew we would face a tough time, but did not expect such a heavy loss. What made it more painful was that it was our silly mistakes which gifted Sarawak the big win,” said Azraai.
Azraai felt let down by several players in his team, especially towering defender Rafael. The Brazilian was tasked with marking Sarawak’s Bosnian dangerman Muamer Salibasic, who went on to complete a hat-trick.
Azraai was so incensed with Rafael’s display that he substituted the Brazilian just seconds before half-time.
“I was frustrated by his performance.
“He was guilty of putting his interests first before the team,” said Azraai.
The three-time Malaysia Cup-winning coach, who joined from Negri Sembilan this year, has a contract with the Pafa until the end of 2014.