PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur coach Bojan Hodak is a no-nonsense character who always speaks his mind.
And the Croatian did not mince his words when he took issue with national coach Kim Pan-gon for under-utilising two of his players in the King’s Cup.
Hodak noted that wingback Declan Lambert and playmaker Zhafri Yahya did not play much in the tournament in Chiang Mai and were more ‘’on a holiday’’ there.
Declan only played 10 minutes in the first game against Thailand, where he earned his first cap. As for Zhafri, he was left on the bench.
Hodak had earlier requested the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) to release both his players as they had two Super League fixtures during the international period. The City Boys also had to prepare for the AFC Cup Inter-Zone final against Uzbekistani club PFC Sogdiana at the Sogdiana Stadium on Oct 5.
But Pan-gon wanted to keep his 24-men squad intact, thus forcing KL to release Declan and Zhafri for the King’s Cup.
A livid Hodak said: “The coach brought Zhafri and Declan on a holiday. Only 10 minutes for Declan and Zhafri did not even get a chance to earn his first cap.
“They could have been with us for the Super League tie against Penang.
“The coach had a pool of players to choose from besides my players, but he said he wanted to try them out. But look at what happened in Chiang Mai ... he hardly used them.
“When I was the national Under-20 coach, I would release some players when the club needed them because they had important fixtures. I had the option of calling up other players.
“We all want to do something for Malaysian football. I’m not pinning the blame on FAM. It’s the coach. I felt that both Zhafri and Declan wasted their time there.”
Hodak added that Zhafri and Declan could have made a difference in KL’s 0-1 loss to Penang, at the City Stadium in Georgetown last week.
He will now have their services against Sarawak United at the Cheras Football Stadium today.
“They returned on Monday night and joined us for training yesterday morning. At the moment, I’m not sure about their fitness levels.
‘’I guess they didn’t have any tough training there, but Declan and Zhafri will be available for selection.”