KOTA BARU: History is about to be made if the state government is successful in wresting control of the Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) from its current management.
Considered a long-suffering association due to limited resources, KAFA faced more problems recently when several ex-KAFA officers here were sued by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for not remitting around RM89,000 of its players' entitlements.
Some quarters are lobbying for Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to be nominated and appointed as president.
If successful, Nik Aziz would become the country’s first ulama (religious cleric) to hold the top post of a football association.
Kelantan Malays Football Association deputy president Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the state had offered to help KAFA manage its team besides pumping in the much needed resources including financial aid to ensure the team is competitive in domestic competitions.
In most states, the football associations are headed by the Mentri Besar or Chief Minister but recently, many offered to step aside following a directive from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that cabinet ministers should not hold top posts in sports associations so they can focus on their ministerial duties.
The current KAFA president is Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub, the Machang Umno division acting head, while it was learnt that state Umno head Datuk Seri Annuar Musa is also quite keen to take up the post.
When met at a recent breaking of fast function hosted by the Kelantan Malays Football Association, Takiyuddin confirmed that he together with several others including fellow state executive councillor Datuk Anuar Tan Abdullah were being sued by EPF over the remittance of contributions.
He said KAFA when he was the deputy president from 1996 to 1998 had its operations privatised and it was the role of that company to remit the players EPF contributions but somehow, it allegedly had not done so.
He also said the state’s offer for KAFA to nominate Nik Aziz as its president remains and that having him as president was purely for the improvement of the sport and not for political mileage.