# Zainal Abidin cuts his football links with Pahang
# Shah appointed new head coach
# Mass exodus of key players for greener pastures
It has been a miserable season for Pahang this season – finishing empty handed and failed to retain the FA Cup and the prestigious Malaysia Cup the Elephants won last year.
On top of that Pahang were also given the boot in the AFC Cup competition after being docked six points by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) on the instructions of FIFA for failing to pay one of their foreign players.
The deduction of six points proved costly for Pahang who surrendered their second place in the 12-team Super League and with that went their AFC Cup berth. Selangor, the newly crowned Malaysia Cup champions moved up to second in the league and earned a free ride into the second tier AFC Cup competition.
Head coach Zainal Abidin, who took over the hot-seat from Dollah Salleh in 2013, has already quit Pahang for the new season – strongly linked to his homestate Selangor.
“At this stage all I can say is that I am not with Pahang anymore,” said Zainal who will hold a press conference in Kuantan on Thursday night.
“Much has been said and written about me in the print and electronic media and this has been added pressure on me. I will be returning to Pahang later on Wednesday to sort things out.”
Zainal’s much talked about move to Selangor, is also mired in controversy as incumbent Mehmet Durakovic is still under contract with the Red Giants until the end of 2016.
However, it is now rumoured that Mehmet will be head the Selangor FA’s director of coaching while Zainal will be made the head coach for the new season.
The Australian was on the way out until Selangor landed the prestigious Malaysia Cup last Saturday at the Shah Alam with a 2-0 win over Kedah in the final to complete Selangor long awaited “MISSION 33”.
Coming back to the mass exodus of players from Pahang, skipper Razman Razlan heads a list of “who is who in Pahang football”. The others are internationals Azamuddin Akil and Hafiz Kamal (moving to JDT), Azidan Sarudin (Terengganu), while Razman, Khalirul Azhan Khalid, R. Gopinathan are said to have been lured by Selangor.
Foreign hotshots Dickson Nwakaeme (Nigeria), Damion Stewart (Jamaica) and Matias Conti are also reportedly on the move. Nwakaeme is linked to Selangor while Conti is said to be heading to Singapore’s S-League.
Meanwhile, Zainal’s assistant Ahmad Shahruddin Rosli, a former international, who also served his homestate in the capacity under Dollah Salleh (2013) has been made the new head coach of Pahang for the new season.
Shah as he is populary known in the football fraternity, donned Pahang colours from 1994 to 2003.