Kota Kinabalu: Sabah’s entry into next season’s Super League has kicked-off a new initiative with the Sabah FA aiming for a new revolution to help lift the sport to new heights.
Talks between the Technical Committee and Sabah’s head coach and manager, Gary Phillips, on the development of the sport has inspired a new direction where the aim is to lead the State team into the Asian Football Confederation Championships.
Sabah FA Treasurer, Shahriman Abdullah who spoke to reporters at the Sabah FA office in Likas yesterday said the technical committee is delighted with the progress that Gary has brought to the team and that it is confident that his development ideas could help the team reach greater heights.
“We (technical committee) support all his (Gary) programmes.
They are all geared towards developing the standards of the sport and we will support him in every way possible.
“We want to reach new heights and make it to the AFC.
To do that we must win either the league (Super League) or win the Malaysia Cup.
“Gary has shared with us his ideas and ambitions to help us achieve this objective and we will support him,” said Shahriman.
Since joining the team late last year, the highly rated Australian coach has guided Sabah to entry into the M-League’s top tier, a feat that none of his predecessors have achieved in the past five years.
Among the steps that Gary feels the FA must take in order to elevate the standard of the sport in the State is the development of local coaches.
“We must start putting our resources into the development of coaches so that they can contribute towards the future development of local players,” said Gary.
His immediate action for this plan will be to try and convince the committee to agree on acquiring another foreign coach to assist him in developing the players.
Gary’s idea in this area will help the FA achieve two objectives.
One is to assist him in monitoring the 24-man squad, which he intends to have for next season’s Super League, while the other would be to help the team’s other coaching staff to groom local players and shape them into better players.
“I want to see more Sabahans playing for Malaysia in the future and I want to create a pathway of proper grooming for all the development players in Sabah,” he said.
Gary’s time spent in the State since being the coach for the State senior team has made him fond of the land and its people especially those who are serious in wanting to play football.
“The first time I came here I heard plenty of stories about Scott (Ollerenshaw) and how he used to be Sabah’s hero back in the days and his ambitions now to help develop the sport in the State.
“I want to leave a legacy so that when I return to Australia (10 years from now) Sabah would have a proper development programme where they can produce their own players just like the big teams in Europe where they groom and develop their own talents,” said Gary.
He added that this would be a model with the inter-district and inter-zone tournaments, which is part of the FA’s efforts to further develop the sport.
The foreign assistant that Gary plans to recruit is an Australian national coach who has vast experience in the field of technical coaching.