UiTM coach quits over students-only rule

  • Football
  • Friday, 20 Dec 2019

PETALING JAYA: With a paltry budget and option of only using university students, Ismail Zakaria has been left with no choice but to leave his position as UiTM football coach.

Calling it a tough decision, the former Sime Darby coach said he had to resign from his position because of differences with the management.

Last season, the “The Lion Troops” finished fifth in the Premier League and got promoted to the big league next year after PKNS were taken over by Football Association of Selangor (FAS) to become the feeder team for their Super League club Selangor.

Ismail was overjoyed at playing with the big boys but when the management told him that he could only use students, and only a small budget would be allocated for foreign players, he had to throw in the double.

“If we were playing in the Premier League, that may have been reasonable. But, in the Super League, you must have a bigger budget.

“I held discussions with the management, but they were adamant about it. If you go ahead with such ideas, you are asking for trouble.

“It was time for me to go. I could not agree with their plans.”

Ismail said with such cost-cutting plans, it would be tough to face teams like Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT), Selangor and Kedah.

So far, the team have not announced any new signing and have been coy over preparations for next season.

It is rumoured the club are looking to get former national Under-23 coach Frank Bernhardt to replace Ismail.

“I wish them best of luck. For me, I cannot work with their budget.

“I have received offers from Premier League clubs, and I will announce my plans for next season soon.”

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