PETALING JAYA: Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is heading back to Sabah to turn their fortune around.
Kim Swee, who played for the Rhinos from 1994-1998, is relishing the new challenge after quitting his post as the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) technical director on Friday.
The former national Under-23 coach has signed a three-year deal and will report for duty on Oct 1.
For Kim Swee, it will be a massive change as he has been with FAM for 14 years, serving in various roles within the national body.
His most notable achievements are winning the 2011 Palembang SEA Games gold medal and silver at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Games.
Kim Swee said he took up the job because he missed the action and wanted a new challenge.
“It was a big decision but I knew my passion is on the field,” said Kim Swee.
“Whatever that I am today, it’s because of FAM, but I decided to move on and keep testing myself.
“I felt that the timing was right and the challenge presented to me was right too.
“All this while I’ve been involved with national development.
“People have asked if I can make it at club level... I guess this is the best time to show them.
“Sabah have asked me twice to join them, but then, my focus was on the FAM job.
“When the offer came again, I knew they were serious. After listening to their vision and terms, I have agreed to make Sabah a force to be reckoned with again.”
The Rhinos have been going through a torrid period as they have not won in their last nine matches, which saw coach Kurniawan Dwi Yulianto rested.
They are lying in ninth spot with 19 points and play their last match of the Super League against Perak today.
Kim Swee’s first assignment will be the Malaysia Cup and he will then decide on the next course of action for the new season.
“Results have not gone the club’s way in the last few matches and we can’t expect a miracle in the Malaysia Cup but we will look towards a decent result. Then, we will bring in the changes,” he added.