Steve Darby: 'It was a professional decision from the management and this is the reality of football and I accept that.'
PETALING JAYA: Kelantan have parted ways with head coach Steve Darby following their 4-0 thrashing by Sime Darby in their Super League match at the Selayang Stadium on Tuesday.
The Englishman earned the wrath of the Red Warriors fans following the team’s poor form this season and the whipping by minnows Sime Darby was the last straw.
The loss was Kelantan’s fifth defeat in the Super League, leaving them at sixth place in the 12-team standings with 20 points after 13 matches.
In a strange turn of events, the termination was announced by Kelantan FA (Kafa) advisor Tan Sri Annuar Musa on his Facebook page. Annuar himself had resigned from his post as the Kafa president last year.
Annuar also announced that assistant coaches Zahasmi Ismail and Mohd Hashim Mustapha would serve as caretaker coaches until a new head coach is found.
Team manager Azman Ibrahim confirmed they have released Darby, pending further instructions from the Kafa management.
According to Darby, he has spoken to team chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam and they have parted ways amicably.
“I’ll be around for a few more days to sort out the paperwork ... It was a professional decision from the management and this is the reality of football and I accept that,” said Darby on Wednesday.
“I have spoken to the players and wished them good luck. I have also told them to co-operate with (coach) Hashim.”
The writing was already on the wall for the 59-year-old Englishman after a poor showing in their last six Super League matches, with Kelantan only collecting seven points.
The east coast giants also struggled in the AFC Cup competition. They currently sit at the bottom of Group G with three points after playing five matches.
However, the Red Warriors are still in the reckoning to defend their FA Cup crown as they face Premier League outfit Felda United in the semi-final first leg on May 6.