# Winning coach Mat Zan to be replaced by a foreign coach?
# Is Mat Zan not good enough to handle Malacca in the Super League?
# Won the FAM League in 2015 and the Premier League for Malacca in 2016
# Now deemed not good enough to handle the team for the Super League?
# For the record Mat Zan won the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup with Super League teams
By Rizal Abdullah
Politics in Malaysian sports is rearing its ugly head again.
With the M-League hitting the home straight with the Malaysia Cup Final between defending champions and Kedah the movement of players and coaches is on the cards.
But what is happening to Malacca United head coach Mat Zan Mat Aris is baffling. The man who guided Malacca to the FAM League and the Premier League titles in successive years is deemed not good enough to handle the team for their campaign in the elite Super League.
Malacca United are on the verge of hiring a foreign coach for their campaign in the Super League. What is more baffling is that the negotiations between the team’s management and the foreign coach have been held behind closed doors.
The former international – a coach with vast experience – has been left high and dry by the management and he is surprised that he is being treated such despite bringing success and glory to the team.
Malacca United will be presented the Premier League trophy when the team plays when they play Sime Darby at home at the Hang Jebat Stadium this Saturday (Oct 22). Plans are also afoot to parade the trophy through the historical city and a mega concert has been lined-up as well.
Hurt and upset with the developments that have taken place since Malacca United became the champions, Mat Zan wanted to stay away from his team’s final match but has been coaxed by his friends to be present at the Hang Jebat Stadium.
Malacca won the Premier League title with 49 points in the 12-team league.
“Yes. I am hurt, upset and sad with what is happening. Never did I expect such a scenario after taking the team to the FAM Cup (which came with a promotion to the Premier League in 2015) and the Premier League title (which comes with a promotion to the Super League,” said Mat Zan.
“I have heard talks that the management fears I will not be able to handle the team in the high competitive Super League. This does not hold water as I have coached Super League teams and have titles
“Am I not good to handle the team for the Super League? I have a proven record of my coaching career.”
Mat Zan, is a three-time Malaysia Cup champion with Kuala Lumpur as a player. As a coach Mat Zan tasted sweet success by winning the FA Cup with Kuala Lumpur in 1999 and the prestigious Malaysia Cup with Terengganu (a first for the East Coast teams) in 2001.
And something which Mat Zan is proud of is that none of the teams he coached were relegated during his tenure as head coach.
Malacca United, however, don’t seem to appreciate what Mat Zan has done to Malacca football with a bunch of dropouts and along the way ended their 33-year wait to win the Premier League title after plying their football trade in the third-tier FAM League for five years.
The Rembau-born (Negri Sembilan) Mat Zan, is shell shocked with the turn of events.
Mat Zan’s episode is nothing new in Malaysian sports. It is norm when you get many of those who are not seen with the team during hard times jump on the bandwagon to celebrate success and share the glory.
There is another Malaysian malady aptly said by a sports official – “Malaysian sports would rather break the coffers to hire a foreigner rather than trust a successful local coach”.
If a local asks for a minimal increase in salary it always comes with a negative response with such replies as “we don’t have the financial resources” but when it comes to a foreigner everything is possible.
Agents of foreign players or coaches are known to be paid hefty fees with many of the local links getting a cut from that transaction.
Charity begins at home. But this is not so with many in Malaysians.