* Amutu may play against JDT this Saturday
* Coach Azraai most disappointed with Pupo and Kenmogne
Kelantan head coach Azraai Khor Abdullah is more disappointed with his foreign imports – Liberian Pupo Isaac and Camerronian Emmanuel Kenmogne for missing sitters – than the 2-0 defeat to Pahang in Saturday’s Super League match at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Bahru.
The duo may have played their last match for the Red Warriors who are third from the bottom after picking up their fourth defeat in seven matches while staying alive in the FA Cup with a 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Sime Darby after a 1-1 in the first-leg quarter-final and holding an away goal advantage.
Azraai who took over the hot-seat from Dutchman George Boateng revealed that former Nigerian Under-23 international Austin Amutu, 20, is already in town – waiting for his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
“If things fall into pieces Austin could make his debut for Kelantan against JDT in a league match on Saturday,” said Azraai, who is impressed with Amutu’s discipline and commitment in training.
“He has the skills, the physique and all that a striker needs. He fits the bill and he certainly will add more bite to our attacks, especially when it comes to finishing.”
Azraai has gone three matches without a win since taking over the job from Boateng but staying afloat in the FA Cup keeps the targets set for him on track – a top five finish in the league and win at least one of Cups – which is the FA Cup or the Malaysia Cup.
The much travelled Azraai, a former international who led Kedah to back-to-back treble in 2007 and 2008 – winning the League, the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup – had a losing start in the league when Kelantan lost 1-2 to neighbours Terengganu before the 1-1 stalemate against Sime Darby in the FA Cup followed by the defeat to Pahang.
The defeat to Pahang was painful in many ways as it ended Pahang’s 12-year wait to beat the Red Warriors in Kota Bahru. But it was more hurting for Azraai and company when Kenmogne and Pupo could not convert chances that came their even in the six-yard box. Things looked bad for Kelantan when Colombian striker Erwin Carillo lasted only 20 minutes before being stretchered out with a injury.
“The foreigners are highly paid and what has been dished out by Kenmogne and Pupo will have to be stopped. They are aware that they have failed to deliver. Those who saw the match against Pahang will know what I say about them (Kenmogne and Pupo). They have been a disappointment and Kelantan football has paid the price for that.
Carillo’s replacement Khairul Izwan did create problems to the Pahang backline but his lack of match fitness was evident and had a telling effect on the team.
“The fitness level of the players is also a big question mark. I have to work hard to bring the players’ fitness up to the mark. Towards the end of the match against Pahang you could see that we were not fitness enough to last the match.”
All said and done Azraai is looking at brighter side to Kelantan.