KOTA KINABALU: Eleven new faces, including two foreign and four local imports, have been roped in for next season, to strengthen the Rhinos who will be playing in the Premier League for the second consecutive season.
Defender Burhan Ajui and striker Bobby Gonzalez, who both donned Sarawak colours last season, are also making a comeback into the squad while Sabah-born Salvester Sindih, who played for the Rhinos in the Malaysia Cup on-loan from Police, did well to earn a place in the team.
Strikers, Nigerian Charles Obi, 29, and Namibian Paulus Shitaleni Shipanga, 25, are the two new foreign signings for the Rhinos with the Sabah FA still looking for the third import.
Former national flanker from Penang Chow Chee Wing, who donned MPPJ colours last season, is among the four new local imports.
The remaining three are former Selangor defender Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, S. Sunder from Kuala Lumpur and Rezuan Muhamad Radzy from Johor FC.
With the latest edition of the foursomes, Sabah will have five local imports in the team with G. Jeevanatham making his second season with the team.
Five other teens have been drafted to the squad from the Reserve League team.
The five that earned promotion from the Reserve League are goalkeepers, Harold John, Irwan Jamil, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Ebby Roy Raimon and Hardy Charles Parsi.
Among those that have been retained from last season are Clarrey Tabad, David Johnney, Henry Parsi, Henry Soimpon, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Ronny Harun, Rosdin Wasli, Zainizam Marjan and Zulamri Muhammad.
All of the players, with the exception of Ronny Harun, signed their contract held at a leading hotel on Sunday.
Ronny missed the occasion as he is currently on national duty, representing the country in the Asian Games in Doha.
Newly hired coach Croatian Drago Mamic as well as his assistant Khairul Azman Mohd also penned their contract with the FA.
Team manager Rahman Zakaria also signed his appointment letter at the same function, which was graced by Deputy President Datuk Lawrence Gimbang, in the absence of President Datuk Anifah Aman, who is currently in Doha with the national Under-23 team.
Rahman, when met after the function, expressed his confidence of doing well, with the new-look Rhinos.
“We have signed new foreign players, as well as from the peninsula. And plus the existing players from last season, I think we have a decent team, who I believe can do the best for Sabah,” he said.
“We have also signed a new coach, and we hope to see changes for the better for the upcoming new season,” Rahman said.