KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah FA has signed Australian coach Gary Philips on an undisclosed two plus one contract yesterday.
The Aussie has been given a two-year contract with one year optional.
He will be taking the post of Technical Director of Football cum Head Coach of the senior team.
Sabah FA Deputy President Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said they are happy to have finally got their man.
Lawrence made their intention clear that they have had enough of Premier League action.
“We are happy to have you here and as you know, we have been in the Premier League for four seasons. We used to play in the Super League and were also one of the best teams around in the country not so long ago.
“But we have lost many good footballers, and it is our hope things will change for the better in the coming season.
“Our Chief Minister (Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman), who is our President is very concerned about the team and he wants us to play in the Super League (2011).
“It is our hope that you (Gary) can help us bring success to the team,” said Gimbang at the simple signing ceremony held at the FA’s office in Likas here (yesterday).
The FA Treasurer Haji Shahriman Abdullah and Secretary General Alijus Hj Sipil were there to witness the event.
Gary on the other hand spoke of his excitement about taking up his new role.
In fact he could not wait to start his job, insisting his main priority would be to get the best out of his players.
“I’m eager for my first official training session with the squad (tomorrow), and my immediate task is to get to know the players better as well as for them to know my expectations in training and the way that we are going to play this season.
“But we will take one step at a time and that’s the way to make progress.
To a question, Gary said that his personal target will be to get the best out of the 25 players in the squad.
“I hope to find the best from every player and then to maximise their potential … it will be good if we can achieve that.
“From there we will try to improve the squad based on their strength. I also hope to put consistency into the squad because it is very important.
“I don’t want the team to play great in one game and not be able to produce the same performance in the following match,” said Gary, who loves surfing.
He also insisted that Sabah need not only to be strong at home game, but also in away games.
He added that if they can show consistency in getting the results, the fans will come back.
He said with consistency in the Rhinos’ game it would bring back the confidence of the public in the team that has been under-performing in the past few seasons.
Sabah will feature in the second tier of the national league for a record fifth consecutive season.
For the record, the new season is expected to kick off on January 9.