Source : New Sabah Times
KOTA KINABALU: The Rhinos’ newly signed chief coach Drago Mamic is no magician or a tinker man.
The Croatian came to Sabah with high credentials having had enjoyed a successful coaching career with his previous team.
If Mamic is successful here than the Sabah FA, has picked the right man to guide the team to promotion and to the Super League at the end of the new season.
He has impressive track records with his previous teams. And Mamic has pledged to do the same for Sabah and to continue his success story as a coach.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” said Mamic of the task he has been given by his employer–the Sabah FA.
For the record, it’s not a hidden secret that Sabah is eyeing promotion to the Super League which is their utmost priority and also to bring home the ever elusive Malaysia Cup.
Whether Sabah has the quality to achieve both goals is yet to be seen, but as far as Mamic is concerned, he is here to do the job and that he will do the best he can to achieve those goals.
“I had a fantastic coaching experience previously where the teams that I coached do reasonably well. While luck sometime plays its role, but to achieve success, it will go down to hard work,” he said this after penning his contract with the Sabah FA on Sunday.
“I’m fully aware of the responsibility and the task that I have to accomplish, and I like the challenge,” Mamic added.
Mamic admitted that he is racing against time to prepare the team for the new season, but said thet they will be ready for the opener against Selangor PKNS.
“I came here six weeks before the championship (Premier League) and I found that the team is without five key players, who had left the club.
“So I have to work on the selection for domestic and foreign players and the team need to adjust very quickly because we don’t have much time before the championship.
“We have around two and a half weeks to prepare and I strongly hope we will be able to further strengthen the team,” Mamic said.
“I’m not a coach who wants a 25-member, but I’m a coach who works on 16 players who are capable of carrying out the task,” he commented on the quality of the team.
“But at the moment, I only have 13 players who can make the grade and I need three more quality players. The three will include the third foreign, who can play a free role; as a stopper; defensive midfielder, and be transformed into a striker if needed.
“The other two will be Malaysian footballers, but it is quite impossible to get it now because of the limited time.
Mamic also said that he will not make any major changes to the set-up of the team. However, he admitted that the ways he works, will surely be different from other coaches. “I will do it my way, but it is not for me to say or explain it in public. However, I can say that I will bring new conception to the team and retain the system we are playing.
“System and conception are two different things. When you talk about system, it is formation you play like 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, but conception is what can be done on the system to further strengthen the squad with the players I have. Conception is more to understand the system we play,” he explained.
“I think, I have players, but I will not talk too much on this matter as whatever I’m bringing into the team will only be proven on match day, and let’s wait and see.
Mamic once played for NK Orijent Rijeka from 1969 to 1997 in the Croatian First Division League before joining NK Jadran Porec upon leaving Orijent Rijeka.
After one season with NK Jadran he ended his career as a footballer and takes up coaching. However, it was not until 1988 he earned his coaching certificate. He was then named as coach of NK Orijent Rijeka Youth team before being named as the head coach of the senior side in 1998.
During the same period, he was among the coaching panel of the Croatian national youth team.
In 2001, Mamic, who is a holder of a prestigious UEFA-Pro coaching certificate, decided to look for greener pastures where he went to China. He spent five years in China and had stint with Chengdu FC, Dalian-Shide and Guangzhaou FC.
During his stint in China, he guided Chengdu to China Super Cup title in 2000.
In 2001, he joined Dalian-Shide and guided the club to China’s Winners’ Cup crown. They also won the Chinese League First Division Crown in 2001 and 2002 and runners up of the Asian Cup.
He left Dalian and joined Guandong FC. He left Guandong in the middle of this year, and made his first contact with the Sabah FA in July.