KOTA KINABALU: Gary Phillips insists it is going to be a new revolution for Sabah football this upcoming new season!
The Australian, who is going to be officially unveiled as the Rhinos’ new head coach today, said having a new management, some new players and a new coach (for the new season), changes are certainly going to take place.
“This can be a very exciting time for us to be part of a history making squad,” said Gary, in his first address to the players, hours after his arrival in the State Capital yesterday.
The Sabah FA Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil and Treasurer Haji Shahriman Abdullah were also present.
“Young and old (players), we must try to get the results together.
Gary, who left the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), to take up the Sabah FA offer said that he has seen a couple of games and he believes that there are exciting talents in the team.
“With the right attitude we can have a good season. But I have one big problem … we have 25 players, but only 11 players will play.
“Every one of you will have the opportunity to show us you deserve a place in the first team.
“I also hope to know you (the players) quickly and understand your ability. I want to know you better so that we can get the best out of you,” he said.
“I know you have already done training (under Justin Ganai, who will be assisting Gary), but we are going to do a different aspect of training for the new season,” said Gary, adding that he will officially start his new job on Monday.
“If any one of you has a problem … my door is always open and you can talk to me,” said Gary, adding that he is excited to be here and to get the best out of the team.
Earlier when met at the airport upon his arrival from the national capital, Gary said that there are many reasons why he decided to take up the job and left his previous job as Coaching Development Manager with the AFC.
“There are many things that made me take up the job. The new management has a good record, the team has a lot of potential and in fact the entire Island (referring to Sabah) has a lot of potential as well as the history behind the team.
“This is going to be an exciting opportunity for me.
“My former playing colleague (Scott Ollerenshaw) spoke of the place (Sabah) and its people. He told me that Sabah used to have good support with the Stadium packed to its capacity.
“And this will be a chance for me to work with him and other officials here in Sabah.
“It will be a challenge for me to make this happen again.
“But I wouldn’t come here just for a holiday. I come here to be a successful coach. I don’t come here to become a second division coach. I want to be the coach of a Super League side and I hope the players will have the same thinking as me.
“And I want to repay the faith that the new management has given me and I will try my best to do a good job,” said Gary.
Gary, who is in his 40s, has had a successful experience coaching at the club level.
The former Olympic Sharks player was playing in the Australian national league, and in fact is the second-longest serving player in the club’s history, making a total of 279 appearances for the club.
After his playing days, he also coached Olympic Sharks and guided them to their first championship crown in 12 years.
He also led one of Australia’s top clubs, Olympic Sydney to four national championships and four Australian Cups.
Besides coaching at club level, he is also a former Tongan coach as well as the Australia Under-17 Women’s squad head.
For the record, the Rhinos’ hot seat was left vacant after Iraqi Wathiq Naji Jasim was removed from the post towards the end of last season.