Source : New SabahTimes
KOTA KINABALU: A Nigerian defensive midfielder Prince Eboagwa Etuwe is only one step away from becoming a Rhino.
It is believed that negotiations are ongoing between the Sabah FA and the player after he made an early impression during a friendly match against the visiting Korean Police Academy on Monday.
Prince Eboagwa, who also plays as a central defender, was among a group of foreign players that are currently on trial with the Rhinos.
He looks pretty solid at the backline, and his performances have won the hearts of the FA Selectors, including the coach Drago Mamic.
Sabah, who fielded mostly the Reserve League and Under-19 players, lost 0-2 to the visiting Koreans in a match played at the Likas Stadium.
“The search for a foreign player is ongoing and we have several hopefuls tonight (Monday),” said team manager Rahman Zakaria.
“He (Prince) impressed us, but we would still continue to access them including the Chilean midfielder (Alain Antonio AS Tudillo Pauez).
“We want to make sure we signed the right player,” he added.
The Rhinos are currently lying in eighth in the 11-team standings with only four points to show after four matches.
The lack of depth in defence is among the weaknesses that have been identified.
And Rahman is hoping to rectify it soon.
The unfavourable situation was highlighted when Drago turned lanky striker Salvester Sindeh into a defender as he needed an influential player with the ideal height for the position.
And Drago’s problem is not helped by the continued absence of captain Ronny Harun who is on international assignment. And that left the squad with only the local import Ahmad Tharmini Saiban and the inexperienced youngster Henry Parsi at the heart of the defence.
“Sabah need a commanding central defender because Ronny is in the national team set-up and we may lose him regularly. He (Prince) has the quality that we need in this position and we’ll see how thing progresses,”
Should Prince signs for Sabah, he will become the second Nigerian in the squad after Charles Obi, the current Premier League top scorer with four goals thus far.
On the other import, Namibian striker Paulus Shitaleni Shipanga, Rahman was tight-lipped when asked to comment.
“He has been brilliant in training, but when it comes to games, he has been a big let down. He is still in the team though,” said Rahman.
Rahman also hoped that the fans will turn up in full force and support Sabah at their den.
“We are not asking for a packed stadium, even it is half-filled it will be good enough. I’m sure with a good turn out and with the fans backing us the game will be different.
“For instance, Sarawak has been getting good support from their fans. Although they are a relatively an inexperienced side with lots of young players, they have been doing quite well at home, and all this boils down to their fans, who have been supporting them,” Rahman said.