16th July, 2012
AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE … from right, Gimbang, Mackie, Hill and Beard.
KOTA KINABALU: Less than 100 local fans turned up for the meet-the-fan session with the visiting English Premier League outfit Queens Park Rangers at their base at Magellan Sutera yesterday.
Sadly, the fans were left disappointed after only two players; Jamie Mackie and Clint Hill were there for the purpose.
Jamie was the man who scored against Manchester City in their final league game last season while Hill was the club’s Player of the Year for 2011-12 season.
Star players such as Park Ji Sung, Bobby Zamora, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Cisse, Adel Taarabt and Andrew Johnson were nowhere to be seen.
Earlier at a press conference, Manager Mark Hughes was also missing despite the fact that this was the club’s second press conference since their arrival on Friday, which is rather ironic.
Sabah FA Deputy President Datuk Lawrence Gimbang said that the reason for the no-show from the star players was because they needed rest.
“Because of the time difference, some of them were sleeping or resting,” said Gimbang.
Meanwhile, Hill hopes the club will do better than last time out in the EPL.
“Obviously, hopefully, it would not be as dramatic as last season. The team are eyeing a mid-table finish and if we can make it to the top 10, it will be great,” he said.
Hill also believes that Park Ji Sung will strengthen their squad.
“It is definitely good for the team. Park is the only one who played and won the Champions League and Premier League many times. It is great to have him in the team.
Mackie on the other hand said that they are pretty much excited to be here in the Land below the Wind.
“We are very excited to be here but we have been spending more time sleeping. But definitely we looked forward for our game on Tuesday against the Sabah Selection.
QPR CEO Philip Beard said they will leave it to Hughes to name his captain.
“That’s the decision of the manager and I think he will announce (captain) it when he is ready.
Beard also hinted they may sign one or two more players for the new season.
“We got a very strong squad on this Asian Tour already. We have done a lot of business a few weeks since we finished the last season. Maybe we are looking at one or more two players, and more signings would be made.
“But I think the signing we had this past few weeks, shows were serious about strengthening the squad for the next season. We have signed good players to go along side with the already strong team.
On tickets for their friendly date with Sabah Selection on July 17, he said: “There are still tickets available but they are selling fast.”