* Cikgu takes leave rather than be made a scapegoat
* Former international Ahmad Yusof takes charge for next two matches
* Terengganu FA approves paid leave for coach
Thanks to suspensions and injuries to their players and veteran Terengganu coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim is “Victim No 5” this season as the Turtles continue to slide in the Super League.
The Terengganu FA management has approved Abdul Rahman’s request for three months paid leave from his job – coming in the wake of Terengganu’s 2-0 defeat to Selangor at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
It is not the fault of “Cikgu” as Abdul Rahman is popularly known in the football fraternity but he was wise enough to ask for leave – as rumours became stronger that the management is looking for a scapegoat for the team’s six-match winless run in the Super League.
Terengganu’s rot will not stop by just bringing in a new man. For the next two matches the Terengganu team will be handled by Abdul Rahman’s assistant Ahmad Yusof, a former international, and Mustaffa Kamal Abdul Wahab.
It is reliably learnt that Abdul Rahman was already on the “scapegoat list” as the management had gone on the hunt to find a replacement.
Terengganu’s slump in football fortunes is not a surprise – not when the so called foreign superstars, including some locals who are paid big fat salaries for mediocre performance on the field.
Brazilian hot shot Paulo Rangel – signed at a hefty fee from Selangor this season – has been a liability than an asset – and is serving a three-month ban for a kicking the ball at a match official and pushing the referee during Terengganu’s return-leg FA Cup semi-final match against Lions XII at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in in Kuala Terengganu on May 16.
Terengganu will have to take a serious look at Rangel’s long suspension as it does not pay dividends when the player is paid such a hefty sum to sit on the sidelines. The injured Issey Nakajima has not played for Terengganu since he picked up an injury just before Terengganu’s first-leg FA Cup semi-final match against Lions XII.
The much loved Abdul Rahman, 70, has never shirked his responsibilities and is one of the better local coaches who has brought a fair measure of success to his teams – namely Perlis and Selangor.
“To go six matches without a win is record for me. I have never experienced such situation before. When your hands are tied due to limited resources, due to suspensions and injuries there is only so much you can do. You wait for miracles but when miracles do not happen you have to take some measures,” said Abdul Rahman from Kuala Terengganu.
“Everyone knows the actual situation. Instead of being made a scapegoat it is best I take leave.”
Among those who have been rested previously were Dutchman George Boateng (Kelantan), B. Satianathan (Armed Forces), Bojan Hodak (JDT) and Aminuddin Hussein (Kuantan FA).