Zainal to be Pe­nang’s saviour

New Straits Times - - Sport - PIC BY MUHAM­MAD MIKAIL ONG

THE Pe­nang FA (FAP) have placed their trust in for­mer na­tional cap­tain Zainal Abidin Has­san to reignite their Su­per League hopes.

Zainal — who has pre­vi­ously coached Se­lan­gor and Pa­hang — re­places Ashley West­wood, who was given the boot last week af­ter a run of form which saw Pe­nang hit rock bot­tom in the stand­ings with just two points.

FAP pres­i­dent Zairil Khir Jo­hari said they have placed their trust on Zainal to not only build a strong team but also im­prove the con­fi­dence and hopes of the man­age­ment and fans.

“With Zainal’s ac­cep­tance to be Pe­nang chief coach, we be­lieve that we have found a coach with am­ple ex­pe­ri­ence who will be able to rec­tify and re­turn the con­fi­dence of the play­ers and the fans. We are con­fi­dent that he can do it.

“We also know that our play­ers have the cal­i­bre, skills and the abil­ity of high level play. What they need is mo­ti­va­tion, in­spi­ra­tion and di­rec­tion af­ter a mis­er­able and de­struc­tive early part of the sea­son,” Zairil told the me­dia dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at Kom­tar in Ge­orge Town yes­ter­day.

Zairil said with the ar­rival of Zainal, who will be with the Pe­nang team un­til the end of this sea­son, FAP are con­fi­dent that they have found the right can­di­date to en­sure Pe­nang re­main in the Su­per League.

Zairil also de­nied the de­ci­sion to part ways with West­wood was an in­di­vid­ual de­ci­sion. He said the FAP ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil made the unan­i­mous de­ci­sion while ne­go­ti­a­tions with the English­man were han­dled am­i­ca­bly.

Zainal said he was pre­pared to do his best to re­vive the for­tunes of Pe­nang foot­ball, which he be­lieves can be rec­ti­fied and re­ju­ve­nated.

“I know all the play­ers, their ca­pa­bil­i­ties and abil­i­ties and what they need most now is to build up their morale, con­fi­dence level and put them in high spir­its. I am sure that I will be able to do it.

“Just al­low me to go with the team first and con­cen­trate with the present batch of play­ers and af­ter a few ses­sions, I will eval­u­ate the sit­u­a­tion be­fore de­cid­ing on the play­ers,” said Zainal. K. Kandiah

FAP pres­i­dent Zairil Khir Jo­hari wel­comes Zainal Abidin Has­san at theTun Ab­dul Razak Com­plex in Ge­orge­town yes­ter­day.

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