PETALING JAYA, Jan 11 – Sabah FC’s newly appointed head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee – who brands himself as a “field man” which led to him quitting his job as the Technical Director of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) – is a much followed man in this year’s Malaysian League.
The Melaka-born former international has embarked on a journey to take Sabah football out of the doldrums.
Kim Swee is no new comer to Sabah football, having played for the East Malaysian outfit from 1994-1998.
During this period he helped the Rhinos win the FA Cup in 1995 and the League Cup the following year.
Putting that aside, not many have noticed that Sabah’s new-look team for the new season is truly Malaysian in many ways.
Putting aside the foreign players, Kim Swee has picked players which truly describes Malaysia as the melting pot of various races, religions and cultures.
Isn’t that sweet? Yes. It is and truly heart warming too to see names like Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Dominic Tan, Baddrol Bakhtiar, Rizal Ghazali have lighted up the Sabah football scene.
Not to forget names likes N. Thanabalan, Damien Lim, Tommy Mawat, plus the locals who make up the various ethnic races in Sabah which has added the truly Malaysian flavor.
Long serving Korean Park Tae Su – who speaks fluent Bahasa – has penned  another season with the Rhinos – his fourth year with the team.
Sabah have also added two Johor Darul Takzim players – Irfan Fazail and Stuart Wilkin to their stable. Both players are on loan.
With former Australian international and ex-Sabah player Scott Ollerenshaw at helm as the Technical Director of Sabah FC, it gives Sabah football a big boost – more so when the Sabah FA is headed by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin – another personality who made things happen for Kim Swee.
Sabah finished ninth in the 12-team Super League and reached the Malaysia Cup quarte-finals before falling to Melaka United 3-1 on aggregate – losing 0-1 at home at the Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu and 1-2 away at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Melaka.
Kim Swee has instilled the inspiration and belief in the team and many of the rivals have taken note of this. There is more life in the team now. The rivals are aware of this and that the Rhinos will be a team to watch this season.
The shrewd Kim Swee has plugged the loopholes that will suit his system and style of play and get the best out of his players.

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