PETALING JAYA: The Kelantan FA are a trigger-happy bunch.
Last season, they hired and fired three coaches – George Boateng, Mohd Azraai Khor and Zahasmi Ismail.
Kelantan started the Super League season in February with Boateng. In March, he was gone. In came Azraai, who lasted until June. Then Zahasmi took over and Kelantan finished ninth in the 12-team Super League.
Although they finished runners-up in the FA Cup, Kelantan failed to get past the group stage in the Malaysia Cup competition.
And now they’ve got a new man in charge – the much-travelled K. Devan.
But Devan has inherited a squad bogged down by familiar problems.
The Kelantan FA are in the red and their players have not received their salaries for the past few months.
So, can Devan turn their fortunes around in 2016?
The last time Devan tasted success was in 2010, when he guided Selangor to the Super League title. Since then, he has coached Felda United, Penang and Negri Sembilan – but without much success.
But Devan is confident that Kelantan, who won the treble in 2012, will be back at their best next season.
The Red Warriors have retained 16 players from their previous squad. Among those dropped are striker Ahmad Fakri Saarani, midfielder Amar Rohidan and defender Mohd Fitri Omar. In their places, Kelantan have signed up Abdul Manaf Mamat, Mohd Faizal Abu Bakar and Mohd Muslim Ahmad.
Kelantan have also retained just one foreign player – Australian defender Jonathan McKain – and released strikers Gilmar Filho of Brazil and Colombia’s Erwin Carillo.
“Next season will be very competitive, with a lot of team getting bigger budgets, but I’m confident we can do well based on the players we have,” said Devan on Tuesday.
“A number of players are on the wrong side of 30 with several new faces coming in. We are rebuilding the team, but I hope we can hit the ground running.”