Canaries determined to fly high even without Tot
By LOGANATH VELLOO
GEORGE TOWN: The Kedah Football Association (KFA) insist that coach Marijo Tot’s decision not to extend his contract will not hamper the Canaries’ preparations for the Malaysia Cup.
Croatian Tot, who joined Premier League side Kedah at the start of last year’s Malaysia Cup campaign, has decided to leave the Hijau Kuning outfit when his one-year contract expires on July 31.
KFA director of development Datuk Ahmad Shafie has been named interim coach to oversee preparations for the Malaysia Cup while the team management search for a long-term replacement.
“Marijo’s departure will not affect or delay Kedah’s preparations for the Malaysia Cup. Cikgu Mat (Ahmad Shafie) and Antonio Sisic will be in charge for the short-term until a new coach is appointed,” said Kedah manager Datuk Jeffrey Low yesterday.
“We will not be rushed into making an appointment before the Malaysia Cup starts (on Aug 17) as we want to select the best available candidate. We are considering several coaches but it’s too early to reveal their names.”
Although it is just on an interim basis, this will be Ahmad Shafie’s fourth stint in charge of the Kedah senior team.
During his first tenure from 1985-89, he led Kedah to two Malaysia Cup runners-up finishes. He was also put in charge of the Canaries for the 1991 and 2000 seasons.
Sisic, who was brought in by his compatriot Tot last year, remains as the Kedah assistant coach.
Among the names being associated with the vacancy are former national coach Norizan Bakar, former Felda United coach K. Devan and former Kedah player V. Sundramoorthy, whose contract as coach of the Super League champions Lions XII ends this year.
Despite having renowned players like Mohd Helmi Eliza, Muhd Khyril Muhymeen, Baddrol Bakhtiar and Ahmad Fauzi Shaari in their ranks, Kedah failed to shine in the Premier League this year.
The Canaries, who were the pre-season favourites to confirm one of the two promotion tickets to the Super League, only managed a fourth placing in the second-tier competition.