The suspension of chief coach Wan Jamak Hassan and the below-par performance of their Brazilian imports are the main causes of Kedah’s limp start to the Super League season.
The Canaries, so used to being in lofty surroundings, have found themselves languishing in 13th spot in the 14-team Super League standings.
And they have yet to score a goal after three matches!
This is despite having two of the country’s most promising poachers in their side – national players Baddrol Bakhtiar and Mohd Khyril Muhymeen – and the presence of Brazilian hitman Daniel Soares Neves.
Brazilian defender Danilo Vivaldo too has come under fire for Kedah’s leaky defence, which let in all three goals in their opening match against Terengganu club side T-Team.
Kedah then drew 0-0 with Lions XII and PKNS to pick up two points.
Kedah team manager Datuk Khazali Din is clearly not amused with their stuttering start and has warned that he would not hesitate to crack the whip, especially on the two foreign players, to check the rot.
“It’s is time for our two imports to shape up or ship out,” he said from Alor Setar yesterday.
“Neves and Vivaldo have failed to impress despite coming from a country noted for producing skilful and talented players.”
Having issued both the Brazilians show-cause letters, Khazali said they would not think twice about replacing them now that the FA of Malaysia (FAM) have extended the deadline for the signing of imports to Feb 13.
To be fair, the two Brazilians should not be fully blamed for the Canaries’ poor start.
The absence of chief coach Wan Jamak, who is still serving the seven-match ban slapped on him by FAM for criticising the man in black, has also contributed to their disastrious start to the season.
But the former national coach is not the only one in Kedah’s coaching panel to have been suspended. Assistant coach Radhi Mat Din and goalkeeper coach Ahmad Sobri were also punished for speaking their minds in the media.
But while both Radhi and Ahmad will complete serving their four-match ban when Kedah take on Kelantan today, Wan Jamak will have to wait until Feb 14 – when Kedah play Terengganu – to be reunited with his Canaries.
Until then, Kedah fans will have to hope that caretaker coach and former national flanker Mohd Nidzam Adzha can take their team a few notches higher in the standings.