Kuala Lumpur coach Razip Ismail is in a Catch-22 situation as most of the Kuala Lumpur players have not been reporting for training regularly due to unpaid wages since May.
While the city coach steers away from the episode, insisting it falls under the jurisdiction of KLFA, he is feeling the pressure as the Malaysia Cup campaign starts on Sept 6.
Some of the city players are already courted by other teams ahead of the new season next year.
"I can only do so much as it boils down to the players at the end of the day. They need to seriously buck up," said a frustrated Razip.
"If they carry on playing like this, no way we will qualify beyond the group stage."
KLFA are in the midst of settling the players' overdue wages. Razip and his lads will call Selayang Stadium their new home as the pitch at Cheras Stadium is in a poor state.
The city strikers lacked the sting up front and Razip quickly admitted every department needs to be worked on.
For instance, lanky Muhammad Afiq Azmi failed to capitalise on his height as he missed four good chances in front of goal during a friendly match against Kelantan last Sunday.
"The forwards are missing opportunities in front of goal. There is no proper build up from midfield while the defenders are everywhere. There are a lot of problems and we need to rectify them quickly."
Nevertheless, Razip is optimistic of the squad's chances if the team show some improvement in the coming weeks.
"If the players improve, then we will be able to put up a fight and make it to the quarterfinals."