“Great players don’t always become successful coaches. Kurniawan has proven that assumption himself.”
1NEWS – Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto’s career journey with Sabah FC did not run smoothly. Skinny had to accept the fact that he was dismissed from his position as head coach after the Rhinos failed to win in eight consecutive games.
Sabah became the first club to hire Kurniawan as head coach in December 2019. The decision follows the inability of the previous coach, Jelius Ating, to lead a top-flight team due to the lack of an AFC Pro coaching license.
Kurniawan’s first season in Sabah drew mixed reviews from club decision makers with some praising the first-time head coach for keeping the team from relegation. While some criticized him for winning only two of the 11 games played in Super League Malaysia 2020 which was shortened in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The last group managed to push Kurniawan out in November 2020. However, a change in management leadership at the club led to them re-hiring Kurniawan in January 2021, who would actually join Malaysian Premier League club Kuching City as an assistant coach.
Unfortunately, the journey of the former Indonesian national team striker for the 2021 season was not smooth. On Saturday (28/8/2021), Sabah lost 0-4 against UiTM FC. The next day, The Rhinos announced that they had fired Kurniawan. the announcement was listed on Sabah’s social media accounts.
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— Sabah FC Official (@SabahFCofficial) August 29, 2021
The team manager, Marzuki Nasir, told the media that the assistant coach, Burhan Ajui, would assume the responsibilities of head coach until a date to be determined later. He also announced that Jelius Ating had been appointed as the new assistant coach of Sabah to replace Burhan. Jelius and Burhan are both former Sabah players.
“We are confident in their abilities as they have done with the Sabah football team since 2017. They can definitely help the team (do better) in the remaining matches to stay in the Super League next season,” said Marzuki, reported by Malaya Mail.
Sabah FC was surprisingly defeated by bottom team UiTM FC at UiTM Stadium, Shah Alam, Selangor. Marzuki said the management was very disappointed with the team’s performance because it had gone eight games without a win.
“So far the welfare of the players and officials has been well taken care of by the management. Sabah still hopes that all parties, especially the supporters, continue to provide full support to the team so that they can bounce back soon,” added Marzuki.
Kurniawan retired as a player at the end of 2013. Initially, he chose to become a coach at Chelsea Soccer School. After being approached by PSSI and the national team coach, Kurniawan agreed to become a part-time assistant coach for the Garuda team, including U-23 National Team who won silver at the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.