Aussie-born Haris is eighth import for Rhinos

PETALING JAYA: Sabah have sealed the services of Australian-born footballer Haris Stamboulidis ahead of the Super League season.

The 27-year-old of Greek descent has been training with the Rhinos’s first team squad since last month as head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee had been assessing his abilities to join the squad.

Stamboulidis got his start playing youth football in Australia, before heading to the United States to continue playing Under-23 football.

He then played in Spain and Greece, ending the European stints with R. Cartagena in 2023.

Stamboulidis is the eighth foreign player Kim Swee will have in his locker room, alongside Brazilian Ramon Machado, Gabriel Peres, South Koreans Park Tae-su and Ko Kwang-min, Indonesian Saddil Ramdani, Spaniard Miguel Cifuentes, and Portuguese Telmo Castanheira.

Kim Swee will get the chance to test his team during their pre-season fixtures in Sabah, as they will be heading to Keningau for team building before playing friendly matches starting April 23.

“We will be conducting team building in Keningau and will continue with a series of friendly matches there as well as in Sandakan and Tawau.

“This is one of Sabah’s main agenda to strengthen the relationship between players and officials, as well as appreciating Sabah’s loyal supporters,” he said.

The team will also be playing in the Sabah Maju Jaya Cup (SMJ), which is expected to start on April 29 until May 5.

“We will play with three teams including one final slot at the SMJ Cup later.”

However, Sabah’s friendly match with Melaka which was supposed to take place today at the Likas Stadium has been cancelled due to the volcanic eruption at Mount Ruang, Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Sabah received a shot in the arm with a sponsorship deal worth RM5mil with water company Jetama Sdn Bhd.

The deal means Jetama will take over as Sabah’s main sponsor, replacing Sawit Kinabalu from last season.

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