KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah will join Super League runners-up Terengganu in the Asian Football Confederation Cup (AFC) competition next season following Selangor’s defeat in the Malaysia Cup final.
This is based on Malaysian Football League (MFL) rules, where if the Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup are won by the same club, or the Super League runners-up win the Malaysia Cup, then the second slot for the AFC Cup would be given to the third-placed team in the Super League.
The squad coached by Datuk Ong Kim Swee finished the season in third place with a total of 42 points from 22 matches.
Despite having to rely on Selangor’s loss to grab a ticket to the Asian stage, Kim Swee said he was proud of the achievements of his men in such a short period of time.
“This is an outstanding achievement for me even though we have only been together for about a year but the players have shown great performance, and despite finishing third in the Super League, the important thing is that we have qualified,” he said.
The 51-year-old former national squad head coach, who was appointed to guide Sabah at the end of last season, said that playing on the Asian stage would definitely give more experience and exposure to Sabah players.
This is the first time the club have qualified for the AFC Cup since going private in 2020, but Sabah FA participated in the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup in the 1995-1996 season before the competition was abolished in 2002. At the time, Kim Swee was playing for Sabah. — Bernama