Kelantan have no choice but to let head coach Velizar Popov leave, one day after he guided the side to a fourth-place finish in the 2016 Super League.
BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Kelantan chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa has announced that the club have accepted head coach Velizar Popov's resignation, which the Bulgarian had announced earlier on Friday.
Writing on his Facebook page, Annuar explained that the East Coast side have offered Popov a substantial salary raise, but Popov has cited personal and family reasons for his departure.
"The reason given (by Popov) was personal and concerning his family. For your information, KAFA (Kelantan FA) have offered him a one-year contract with a 60% salary increment, given KAFA's current financial limitations," explained the chairman.
However Annuar commended Popov's contribution and willingness to serve the side, despite knowing the challenges that he would be facing.
"KAFA and I want to thank Popov's exemplary service. He came on the basis of a long-standing friendship, accepting a salary that was not any higher than what was received by his predeccessor, a local coach (K. Devan).
"I fully understand the challenges he has been facing at Kelantan, and wish him success. He is a model professional, but maybe it is not our time yet to secure his service," conceded the chairman.
Annuar ended his post by adding that no replacement coach has been identified to take over from Popov.
The Bulgarian had been appointed in May as Devan's replacement, and was then given the target of finishing in a top-four position in the 2016 Super League. The conclusion of the league action on Saturday sees Popov's Kelantan finishing in fourth. Under him, Kelantan have won eight, drawn six and lost six matches in all competitions.
An initial discussion between Annuar and Popov on the team's plans for 2017 around a month earlier had seemed positive, with the former announcing that the latter will continue coaching Kelantan for another year, but as it can be seen, the deal has apparently fallen through.