This season, though, could be the year of their reawakening.
Coach Yusri Che Lah, who is on his second coaching stint with the east coast side, and his trusted friend and assistant Tengku Hazman Raja Hassan are not only looking for better days in the Premier League, they want to see their team reliving their glory days in the Super League.
With captain and centreback Farisham Ismail and new wingers Wan Zaharulnizam Wan Zakaria and Nazrin as the experienced core, Yusri said youngsters like Nik Akif Syahiran, Mohd Danial Haqim Draman and Nik Azli Nik Alias stand to benefit.
However, in football, no preparation before the start of the season can be perfect.
“I am not feeling too good with some of the foreign players we have tried out.
“We are looking for players who can enhance our team and change our game, but many of them have looked average,” said the 43-year-old former Malaysian international.
“After weeks of testing out players, we have finally found our four foreigners, but with only 10 days to the season-opener against Kuala Lumpur in Kota Baru (Feb 29), we need these players to quickly adapt to our game.
“The names will be revealed during the launch of the team’s new jerseys on Saturday at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Baru.”
Tengku Hazman, who coached Terengganu II before joining Kelantan as assistant coach knows the youngsters in Kelantan quite well.
He was one of the underage group coaches in the team when he first took up coaching, and Yusri believes he is the man who can get the best out of the young charges.
“He was my close friend during my playing days. Both of us want to build a strong Kelantan team for the future.
“I know his ability and seriousness to lead this side back to its glory days. Most of the players in the squad have trained under him, so there is no awkwardness.
Yusri, who first coached Kelantan in 2018, before leaving for Kuala Lumpur in 2019 and returning immediately the same year, said the new management was serious about steadying the ship after the club’s financial difficulties.
“They have given me the authority to build this team, and I thank them for that. My plan is to provide a fight for all the teams in the Premier League and be in the top two.
“I believe we can achieve that.”
Last season, Kelantan finished 10th with 17 points, just a point above 11th placed Sarawak, who were relegated to the M3 League.
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