KOTA KINABALU: The fans are tired of seeing the Rhinos playing in the Premier League, claimed its former hotshot Scott Ollerenshaw.
He said the team has been playing in the lower division for far too long, and that efforts must be made in order to bring them back into the country’s top flight action – the Super League.
Scott said the fans are now itching for the Rhinos to play against the country’s top teams.
“The fans want to see Sabah play against the likes of Selangor or Kelantan in the Super League and not those club sides,” Scott said, when met at the inaugural KK Under-12 Football League at the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex Field B in Likas yesterday.
The Sabah FA Executive Secretary Harry Baking was also present at the function.
The League, where 10 teams are vying for honours, is a joint venture between the Sabah Football Association and the Borneo Sports & Adventure Holidays.
Scott’s comments may sound a little harsh, but it is the truth shared by thousands of the Rhinos’ fans who have been slowly staying away from the team.
But unlike those fans, who have been staying away from the Rhinos’ home games, Scott remained loyal, as he has been seen at the stadium in almost all of the Rhinos’ home ties.
The Rhinos’ living legend also said that the current head coach (Wathiq Naji Jasim) should be working closely with the Sabah FA and start rebuilding the team for the new season.
He said: “The coach should start scouting for players now and work with the FA in order to achieve our common objective of gaining promotion next year in case they cannot make it this year.”
Scott said to work on the juniors at the moment may take years to get the results, and that bringing in players from the Peninsula is the only available option.
“We can no longer depend on the foreign players, so the only choice we have is to try to get the best players to reinforce the squad.
Scott, who is married to Sabah’s former karate queen Michelle Koh and now residing in the Land Below the Wind, played for Sabah four seasons from 1994 to 1997.
He was one of the most successful foreign strikers playing in the M-League during his days.
He won the Golden Boot Award twice with Sabah and has the FA Cup as well as the Premier League championship medals (now the Super League) under his belt.
Commenting on the Rhinos’ attack, Scott, who was one of the most prolific strikers in the country said: “I think our players are a little too static inside the opponent’s penalty box. There is no movement among them. They need to move even if it is the wrong move so that it could distract the defenders.”
Nevertheless, Scott is quite pleased to see the current Rhinos’ squad, insisting that this is the best team he has seen from the Rhinos in recent years.
“I think this is the best team we ever had in many years. We have so many young players in the team and we need to reinforce it by bringing in two or three quality players. Maybe we need a good striker or a midfielder.”
The inclusion of Zaykiel Leong in the team, said Scott could give the Rhinos’ attack that extra bite.
The FA’s attempt to register Zaykiel for the PKNS FC clash next week failed.
Harry said that Zaykiel would only be able to make his comeback appearance when the registration window opens in early May.
Sabah are currently ninth in the 13-team Premier League following MBJB FC’s expulsion.
The three points gained from the victory against MBJB FC have also been docked.
With the latest development, Sabah recorded one victory, three draws and two defeats after six games into the season.