Sometimes the best moments happen when no one is expecting them to and that’s what makes upsets and underdogs stories so magical and this bill fits coach B. Satianathan.
The former national coach had him celebrate ”magical moments” in 2010 when he guided Kelantan to their first-ever Malaysia Cup title with a 2-1 win over Negri Sembilan in the final – which was repeat final of 2009.
It must be remembered that Satianathan had his six-month ban slapped by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) for comments against the national football body over some decisions on a switch of venues, lifted temporarily for him to guide Kelantan in the final against Negri Sembilan on Oct 30, 2010.
The Red Warriors staged a remarkable come-from-behind win to lift the much sought after silverware in Malaysian football. Kelantan was a goal down after 18 minutes – conceding a penalty and Shahurain Abu Samah gave the favorites a 1-0 lead.
However, with ‘Chief Warrior’ Satianathan an inspiration on the sidelines, Kelantan roared back after the break and in 10 minutes from the 57th minute, plundered two goals through Hairuddin Omar and Badri Radzi for the East Coast team. The 2-1 win at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil saw a new chapter in football history being written and end an 89-year wait for the Red Warriors.
Satianathan was elated and so were the Red Warriors.
That chapter would have been written a year earlier at the same venue when the two teams crossed paths for the coveted trophy. However, Negri Sembilan, coached by Wan Jamak Wan Hassan, was just too strong for Kelantan with a 3-1 win with goals by Hairuddin Omar, Shahurain and Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak.
Still, Satianathan took pride in his team’s gallant effort in 2009. So was Kelantan FA supremo Tan Sri Annuar Musa whose phone call to Satianathan breathed fresh air into Kelantan football when Englishman Peter Butler “abandoned” the Red Warriors and left the team in a lurch. Butler was Kelantan’s first foreign coach.
Not many are aware of the developments that took place when the Englishman left the team – one week before the Malaysia Cup competition kicked off. Satianathan received the surprise telephone call from Annuar when the former was in Cochin, Kerala in India and all set to sign up for a leading club there.
That call from his “close friend” (Annuar) changed everything. Satianathan abandoned his plans to coach the Indian club and took the first available flight to Kuala Lumpur. He did not even return home from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) but instead took a connecting to Kota Bahru.
It was a modest target for Satianathan from Annuar – to take the team to the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals. However, Satianathan went two better and took Kelantan to the final. Thus began Satianathan’s sojourn in the East Coast.
After winning the prestigious Malaysia Cup, Kelantan returned to Kota Bahru by bus to give football fans in the state the chance to celebrate the historical win.
For Satianathan it was ”magical moments” that are still fresh in his mind. He did not expect such a welcome for winning the silverware.
”Massive crowds up to four deep in some areas as we passed the kampungs along the roads to Kuala Krai and Gua Musang and other places. Joy was written all over their faces, young and old alike.
“I had never seen and never expected such scenes…the scenes are still fresh in my mind,” said Satianathan who is now the head coach of Selangor.
The joy, however, received a jolt in 2011 when two or three days before Kelantan’s Charity Shield match against Selangor at the Shah Alam Stadium, the FAM reinstated the six-month ban on Satianathan. It was a rude jolt for Satianathan.
Kelantan beat Selangor 2-0 to win the curtain-raiser wit goals by Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Badri Radzi.
While Satianathan served his six-month suspension, Kelantan hired (Datuk) M. Karathu to handle the team.
Apart from winning the Charity Shield, Kelantan also won the League Cup the same year under Karathu, a former international.
The year 2012 saw Kelantan football hit a high – clinching a treble by winning the League Cup, the FA Cup, and the Malaysia Cup in one season.
At the 100PLUS SAM Football Awards, Kelantan has also achieved a high with national goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat winning the Best Goalkeeper Award in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 while Badhri Radzi was the Best Midfielder in 2013, 2014.
National striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha won the Best Striker in 2010, 2011, 2012 and also swept the Most Valuable Player Award in the same years. Indra Putra Mahyuddin also won the Best Striker and MVP Awards in 2009.
Badhri Radzi was the Best Midfielder in 2013 and 2104 and the MVP in 2013.
Satianathan walked away with the Best Coach Award in 2010 – a feat he repeated with Armed Forces in 2012.
Kelantan FA won the Best FA Award in 2012 while its die-hard Ultras Red Warriors won the Best Supporters Club Award in 2013.
For the record, Kelantan achieved a treble in 2012 – winning the League Cup, the FA Cup, and the Malaysia Cup in one season. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
Winners: 2011, 2012
Winners: 2012, 2013
Runners-up: 2009, 2011, 2015
Winners: 2010, 2012
Runners-up: 1955, 1970, 2009, 2013
Runners-up: 2012, 2013