KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Lawrence Gimbang insists there is no substitution to victory as he wants the Rhinos to lure the fans back to the Likas Stadium by winning matches!
At the same time, the Sabah FA acting president also gave the Rhinos a tall order by wanting them to end their title drought when the new season kicks off next month.
Speaking at a gathering cum dinner with the players held at a local hotel here on Saturday, Gimbang also stressed on the importance of discipline among the players.
He said: “This is your career and you must realise that this is your bread and butter.”
“You have to be disciplined yourselves be it on or off the field. You may not realise it, but fans are watching you.
“You have to gain respect not only for yourself, but also for the team,” Gimbang added.
Gimbang also admitted that nowadays, sponsors are not easy to come by and therefore insisted that the players must keep on winning matches with the hope of bringing the fans back to the Likas Stadium.
“If the team cannot win matches, how do we expect the sponsors to come in when we are playing in an almost empty stadium?
“If we can win matches the fans will come and it would be easier for us to convince the sponsors to come in,” he said.
“On our part, we have high hopes the team will deliver because it has been long enough since we last won any trophy. This time around, we believe we have a good team … a team that can deliver. With no foreign players, it is a blessing in disguise for us because this is our opportunity to show that we are capable of handling the challenge even without foreign players,” Gimbang added.
He also reminded the Rhinos to stay away from match-fixing.
“You cannot fool people all the time. You can run but you cannot hide. So my advice is for all of you to stay away from it (match-fixing),” said Gimbang.
The Rhinos’ team manager Rahman Zakaria concurred with Gimbang, by saying that the team management will not tolerate anyone involved with match-fixing.
He said they will be holding seminars with the Anti Corruption Agency and the Police together with the players.
At the same time, they would also bring in lawyers to have a talk with the players to brief them on the Contract Act.
Like Gimbang, Rahman also wants the team to play their hearts out and end their title drought.
“I have been holding the post for almost three or four seasons, and I have not won anything yet with the team, and hopefully this new season, we will win something,” said Rahman.
At the same time, Rahman also thanked the Sabah FA management for giving him the chance to lead the team.
“It is a heavy responsibility, but for the love of the sport, I’m willing to sacrifice my time and contribute to the State. I will do the best I can in leading the team to success,” Rahman pledged.
During the function, Rahman together with head coach Wathiq Naji, assistant coaches Mohd Asyraaf Fung Abdullah and Burhan Ajui, goalkeeper coach Awal Taham as well as the team’s physiotherapist Matlan Basir, also signed their appointment letters.
Youth and Sports Ministry Deputy Permanent Secretary Penyuki Matta, Sports Board General Manager Mahmud Kalung, Sabah Sports Council Director Abdul Rahman Laman and Sabah FA Executive Secretary Harry Baking were also present at the function.
For the new season, the Sabah FA has named a 24-member squad, namely Irwan Jamil, Harold John, Mohd Salawi Jasad, Mohd Fariss Azlan Mat Isa, Gasili Pangalot, Hardy Charles Parsi, Mafry Balang, Henry Parsi, Clarrey Tabad, Mohd June Azral Lalah, Mohd Radzi Hussin, Wong Sai Kong, Rosdin Wasli, Zulamri Muhammad, Awang Norizan Ensim, Billyton Vun Ket Ming, Rezuan Khan Aman, Mohd Farid Saibun, Alto Jinus, Zainizam Marjan, Hamidin Amat, Azrul Ejati Damsah, Leopard Alphonso and Selyvister Saini.