KOTA KINABALU: Two Rhinos – David Johnney and Ebby Roy Raimin – who were initially in the Sabah FA’s drop-list have been reinstated back into the team.
Striker Salvester Sindeh has also been recalled to attend training with the State squad in preparation for the new season that is expected to kick off in mid November.
Assistant coach Khairul Azman Mohd when met at the Rhinos light training at the Penampang Stadium on Tuesday said that the trio have been with the team since they started training late last month.
“There is an instruction from the team management for these players to join the squad,” said Khairul while refusing to comment further.
Khairul, the former national and Rhinos No 1 custodian is taking charge of the team – standing in for head coach Drago Mamic who is still on holiday.
He said during the past weeks, they have been doing fitness training, which is more to running as well as doing gym exercises.
“All these training programmes are set by the head coach. I’m here just merely to carry it out. But I’m happy to see that despite the fasting month the players all look energetic and seem to enjoy every moment.
“I hope that when Drago is back, our fitness level will no longer be a problem so that we can concentrate on other areas of the game.
“When we look at the kick off (new season), we don’t really have much time left so we just cannot waste any more time on fitness.
“But as I’ve said earlier, the fitness level of the players should be okay in another one week or so,” added Khairul.
Ebby and David were among the seven players dropped recently.
The rest are Clarrey Tabad, G. Jeevanatham, S. Suresh (both local imports), Felisberto De Oliveira Jr and Dragic Dalidor (both foreign imports).
But the team management had a change of heart and recalled both David and Ebby. In the case of Clarrey, he will be given a chance to prove his worth by attending trials with the team.
As for Salvester, he parted ways with the team towards the end of last season (on mutual agreement) due to work commitment.
There is also still no new development on P. Rajesh and Munir Amran, whose places in the team are still uncertain.
Those retained for the new season are Rosdin Wasli, Zainizam Marjan, Ronny Harun, Bobby Gonzalez, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Hardy Charles Parsi, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Zulamri Muhammad, Henry Parsi, Harold John and Irwan Jamil.
The contract of three local imports, Chow Chee Wing, Ahmad Tharmini Saiban and Rezuan Muhammad Radzy will also be extended. However, Ronny Harun as well as Chow Chee Wing were no where to be seen during the training.
But Khairul said: “Chow together with Wong Sai Kong (the Rhinos would-be new signing – local imports) were here last week. I believe they will be back and join the rest soon.”
Besides Wong Sai Kong, the Sabah FA is also eyeing former national midfielder Rezal Zambery Yahya.
As for the foreign players, the FA is eyeing former Inter Milan midfielder Ze Elias.
Nigerian striker Charles Obi has also been retained. However, his fate with the team will depend on the recovery of his broken arm that received eight screws following a car accident.
The other two players – Henry Soimpon and Burhan Ajui – have been offered coaching jobs by the FA.
Young goalkeeper Selawi Ahmad Jasad was also seen training with the team.