BY OOI KIN FAI Follow on Twitter
Steve Vilmiaire becomes the latest coaching casualty after he was removed from his position as the head coach Sabah in an announcement made on Monday. Sabah joins Perak, Perlis and Penang as the teams who have made coaching changes thus far in the 2017 season.
Datuk Seri Panglima Musa Haji Aman announced that Sabah Football Association has made the decision to install Jelius Ating as the new man in charge following poor results in the Premier League. Sabah are languishing in the relegation zone after only one win from eight matches in the league thus far.
"The appointments of these former players is testimony to SAFA's commitment to improve the team's performance including all three leagues. It is my hope that with these appointments, the State football team can be competitive within the national league," said Musa during the announcement.
Jelius is a former Sabah player who have served the team with distinction back before the turn of the millennium. He is one of three changes made across all levels at Sabah with Justin Ganai and Awang Sabtu Jamil taking over the helm at the U-21 and U-19 teams respectively.
Vilmiaire was considered a risky option for Sabah as his inexperience in guiding senior teams was a disadvantage for him. Vilmiaire had only previously been in charge of the youth development at Singapore's Home United prior to his appointment at Sabah. His continues experiments with the team has failed to change the fortunes of the East Malaysian side and thus forced the management to stop the rot with this move.
Jelius' first game in charge will be the massively important home tie of the FA Cup quarter final against Negeri Sembilan on 1st April before the Premier League resumption the following week. With only three matches left before the end of the first half of the league campaign, Sabah are unlikely to make it to the Malaysia Cup as Jelius looks to concentrate his efforts in saving Sabah from dropping down to the FAM League.