KOTA KINABALU: Gary Phillips will be unveiled as the new Sabah FA head coach the latest by this weekend.
The Australian has agreed to an undisclosed deal, which is believed to be three years, with the FA.
Besides handling the senior team, it is also believed that Gary will be given the task to see the development of football in the State.
Gary could not be reached for comment, but the FA Treasurer Haji Shahriman Abdullah when met in the national capital over the weekend confirmed that the deal has been sealed.
Haji Shahriman, who himself was a former State player during his heyday, said Gary is likely to be here by Wednesday.
But it is uncertain whether Gary, whose last appointment as Coaching Development Manager of the Asian Football Confederation, has penned his contract.
Yesterday, the FA Secretary General Alijus Haji Sipil when contacted also confirmed that the Aussie will be here anytime this week, adding that the contract signing will be done when he arrives.
Gary will fill in the Rhinos’ hot seat left vacant following the removal of Iraqi Wathiq Naji Jasim midway through last season. Then Mohd Asyraaf Fong Abdullah was the man replacing Wathiq on a caretaker basis.
Gary will be the 13th foreign coach to have worked with the FA.
Frank Upton was the first while Wathiq was the last one.
Australian Ronald Smith is the most successful foreign coach Sabah ever had.
He helped guide the Rhinos to the Premier League crown (now the Super League) for the first time ever in 1996 since the M-League turned professional in the early 90s.
The rest of the foreign coaches are Roy Lorenson, Oldrich Sedlácek, Ken Shellito, Ken Worden, David Woodfield, Peter Butler, Jose Garrido, Jose Luis and Drago Mamic.
Gary, who is in his mid 40s, is a former Olympic Sharks player 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 turned into coaching and had a successful experience coaching at club level.
He 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.
He also served as head coach of the Tonga national team in 2000-2001, but it was not a good stint for the Aussie.
He also had spells with top clubs in Vietnam.
Besides that, he was also the former Australian Under-17 Women’s squad’s head coach.