BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Almost one month after Kelantan chairman Tan Sri Annuar Musa announced that the service of head coach Velizar Popov will be retained for the 2017 season, the Bulgarian made a statement that his future at the East Coast side is still undecided.
Although Popov, who had been appointed by the Red Warriors halfway through the 2016 season, thanked his players and staff for a great season, he said that the lack of financial commitment from the club and sponsors meant that his future is still up in the air.
"Unfortunately one month (September 25-October 21) after our positive meeting about the new season 2017 and the possible extension of my contract, there's no agreement yet because of the difficult financial situation of the club, caused by the sponsors and non-fulfillment of their financial obligations. In this situation without financial guarantees it is impossible to plan and execute whatever for the future.
"Patience is important for a coach, but at the end of the day I am (a) professional and must follow some fundamental principles in my work - you should never lower your standards to accommodate club/sponsors/managements/players', who refuse to raise their(s)," he wrote on his Facebook page, while linking a Goal report about his supposed contract extension from a month ago, at the end of the statement.
However he added that he remains eager to continue working for Kelantan, as long as his conditions are met by the club.
"Already I have shown several times the desire to continue to work with TRW (the Red Warriors) and definitely I'll be glad someday to have the opportunity to work again, but under better circumstances and conditions!
"If our paths disperse (diverge) after the end of the season I wish you all the best, success and best of luck in future, and I will always be a supporter of TRW KELANTAN - GOMO KELATE GOMO!!!" said the 40-year old coach.
The Red Warriors have been battling financial woes, unpaid player wage issues, and unfulfilled sponsor promises this season, despite having secured a reportedly lucrative sponsorship deal with cosmetics manufacturer Qu Puteh at the start of the 2016 season. Their players are rumoured to be leaving for other teams for the 2017 season, due to the financial woes.