# Lack of professionalism at FAS leaves Zainal’s signing in bad taste
# Red Giant fans unhappy with Mehmet Durakovic’s removal
Selangor’s prodigal son Zainal Abidin Hassan has been handed the hot-seat as the head coach of the Red Giants for the new M-League season but it has not gone down well with many, especially the fans.
The 55-year-old former international takes over the job from Australian Mehmet Durakovic who won the Malaysia Cup for Selangor last season and in the process ended their long overdue “Mission 33” with a 2-0 win over Kedah in the final at the Shah Alam Stadium on December 12.
Durakovic, himself a former Selangor player and played alongside Zainal in the mid-90s, still has a one-year contract which runs through 2016 with the team. However, the Australian was told to take a new role in the Selangor FA (FAS).
He declined and was instead reportedly paid compensation worth nearly RM1 million. This has not gone down with many, especially the die-hard Selangor fans.
There is more to Zainal’s signing. It has been reported that the Selangor management dealt with Zainal during the Malaysia Cup – something that irked many as they feel Durakovic was “back-stabbed” by certain individuals in the Selangor FA and management.
Selangor Fan Club vice-president Norazman Abbas reportedly said instead of hiring Zainal as the chief coach he should have been given a different role and let Durakovic remain in his present job.
“He has achieved success for Selangor and winning the prestigious Malaysia Cup speaks of his abilities. The players like him and the fans like him. He might have won only the Malaysia Cup last season but there is great future for the team this season,” said Norazman.
Zainal has penned a two-year deal with the Red Giants after quitting his former team Pahang. He also brought along four Pahang players with him – Razman Roslan, R. Gopinathan, Khairul Azhan Khalid and Hafiz Kamal.
Many feel that it was “package deal” worked out by certain individuals in the Selangor management with the promise that Zainal will be made the head coach. When the controversy surfaced there was efforts to make Zainal the technical director but it did not work out.
Selangor team manager Amirudin Shari said Zainal was hired because he had great success with Pahang when he won the FA Cup and the Malaysia Cup for the Elephants in 2014.
Does it guarantee Selangor success?
However, Pahang finished empty handed last season. On top of that the East Coast giants hit the limelight for the wrong reasons after the FA of Malaysia (FAM) docked Pahang six points in the Super League which saw the team slip to third place and Selangor moved up to second in the 12-team league.
The points were deducted on the orders of FIFA for not paying one of their foreign players – Morocco’s Mohamed Borji USD125,00 in salaries. Pahang were also slapped a fine of 17,000 Swiss francs by FIFA for not paying Borji’s salaries.
The deduction of six points turned out to be a costly affair as Selangor also get to play in the AFC Cup after being elevated to second place
Selangor have retained Andik Vermansyah (Indonesia) and Robert Cornthwaite (Australia) but have given Brazilians Leandro Dos Santos and Guilherme de Paula the boot for the new season.