BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Kelantan head coach Velizar Popov will be retained for the 2017 season, while loanees Syahrul Azwari and Farisham Ismail will return to Kota Bharu, announced Kelantan FA (KAFA) chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa on Sunday.
Annuar posted on his social media that he and the Bulgarian have had a meeting on the future of the squad, and both parties have agreed on the extension of Popov's contract for the following season.
Apart from the extension, Popov will also be given full rein with the appointment of team staff and players both local and foreign in 2017, Annuar announced.
"Popov will stay on as the Red Warriors' head coach in 2017, and will be given full rein in the appointment of officials and signing of players (local and foreign) for the 2017 squad," said Annuar.
He added that KAFA have been satisfied with Popov so far, and have seen it fit to allow him to pick his own side.
"KAFA are satisfied with the commitment shown by Popov and would like him to pick his own 'dream team', to ensure 2017 is a succesful year for Kelantan," explained the chairman.
The former Maldives head coach joined Kelantan in May on what was described by Annuar as a 'flexi-contract' following the resignation of former head coach K. Devan. Under him, the Red Warriors reached the quarter-finals of the Malaysia Cup, and are likely to finish the Super League in the fourth position, with one match left in the league.
And on Monday morning, Annuar announced that Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim and Farisham Ismail, who are currently out on loan to Sarawak and Pulau Pinang, will return to the side for the 2017 season.
Harimau Muda graduate Syahrul had joined the Crocodiles, who at the time was coached by former Malaysia head coach Datuk K. Rajagobal, at the start of the 2016 season, while Farisham joined the Panthers in the mid-season transfer window this year, following interest by team CEO and former Kelantan head coach Bojan Hodak.