KOTA KINABALU: The appointment of the Rhinos’ head coach will top the agenda when the Sabah FA holds its team management committee meeting on Thursday.
The afternoon showdown is also likely to zero in on how to prepare the team for the new season which is expected to kick off on early January 2009.
Speaking to the New Sabah Times Sports yesterday, Rahman Zakaria said several other issues such as hiring of new players will be up for discussion.
“A lot will be discussed during the meeting. But I think the hiring of the new coach will be the main thing. The team cannot be left without a coach because we really need to get cracking from now on,” the Rhinos team manager said.
The Rhinos are currently coach-less after the FA decided not to renew the contract of Croatian coach Drago Mamic, whose contracts ends at the end of last season.
Former player, Burhan Ajui, who was the assistant to Drago, is currently in charge of the team.
Rahman, who is also the FA Supreme Council member, revealed that so far they have only received one application for the Rhinos’ hot seat and it is from a local coach, but he declined to give any names.
“The doors are still open and we welcome coaches who have yet to submit their applications,” said Rahman.
The New Sabah Times Sports understands that only four local coaches have the criteria to run the State team. Among them are Justin Ganai, Kelly Tham, Stanley Chew and Mohd Asyraaf Fung Abdullah.
Rahman also revealed that several of last year’s squad has left the team.
He said, Chow Chee Wing, Ahmad Tharmini Saiban, Munir Imran and Hishamuddin Othman will not don the Rhinos colours next season.
Chow Chee Wing and Munir Imran are believed to have signed for Felda United while Hishamuddin with Kuala Lumpur and Tharmini Johor.
In view of the exodus, Rahman said they will be looking for several players especially defenders and strikers for the new season.
“We need a player or a defender who can lead the team at the backline. At the same time, we are also looking for a prolific striker.
“Our first choice of course will be a local Sabahan, but if we cannot find a suitable local candidate, I am afraid we will have to look elsewhere,” he said.
Although players have left or will leave the team, the good news is that there are several ex-players making a return to the team.
Mafry Balang and Gasili Pengalot joined the team in training since late last month.