PETALING JAYA: Kelantan coach Yusri Che Lah has urged his players to keep their spirits up despite the possibility of a FIFA sanction over salary arrears.
The cash-strapped Kelantan FA (Kafa) owe former Brazilian import Cassio De Jesus RM629,620.28.
They are now praying hard for help from fans to settle the arrears before the May 23 deadline.
Given the circumstances, it looks like the Red Warriors will not be able to avoid a point-deduction from FIFA.
In 2019, Kelantan were deducted three points by FIFA for failing to settle arrears to their former technical director Alfredo Gonzalez within the deadline.
Yusri admitted the huge amount and the time factor would work against the Premier League side.
“The team’s new management have been working hard to settle previous debts and I think they need to be given credit as they have settled most of the arrears but Cassio’s case can be a huge stumbling block, ” said Yusri.
“Kafa’s former president Tan Sri Annuar Musa has said he will help and a donation drive has been launched as well but the amount is very high and we don’t have much time to settle it.
“We can just hope that everything ends amicably and be ready for anything.”
The M-League, which was suspended on March 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is expected to resume on Sept 1 and only one round of the league will be played.
Kelantan are currently seventh with four points in the 12-team standings after three matches with seven matches left to play.
“We have a match in hand and seven more matches to get back into the Super League. I want the players to just focus on doing well in every match, ” said the 44-year-old coach.
“The players will feel it’s unfair that they have to face the consequences of the previous management and I understand their feelings as a point-deduction will affect our chances to get back to the Super League.
“We can’t just give up, we need to respond to this setback. If everyone is committed to the cause, we might make it in the end... but we will need the support of the fans and the management to achieve this.”
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