Englishman Peter Butler is a coach who will not take things sitting down.
The Kelantan coach blew his top after the Red Warriors went down 1-2 to Selangor in a Super League at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday. He hit out at the team management during the post-match press conference, saying he had no say on the team selection.
He revealed that he didn’t even know of Kelantan signing a new foreign player – Nwoha Onyekachi of Nigeria, who was used as a substitute against Selangor.
Despite the loss, Kelantan are still leading the standings with 17 points while Perak are second with 15 points and Terengganu third on 14.
Onyekachi, who replaced Lebanese striker Mohd Ghaddar Mahmoud, was used as a substitute against Selangor. “It was the management’s decision to field him. Now, I have to re-evaluate my position as Kelantan coach,” said Butler.
“I’m a coach with high morals and principles. I have a two-year contract with Kelantan and I need to know my role in the team,” added Butler.
With an unhappy coach in their ranks, the Kelantan FA are now in damage-control mode.
Team manager Azman Ibrahim said he would meet Butler to resolve the dispute over the foreign signing.
“It’s a misunderstanding. I hope to sort it out with Butler as soon as possible,” added Azman.
Azman said the Kelantan FA had to act fast on the signing of Onyekachi in order to beat the transfer deadline on Monday (Feb 13).
“The signing of local and foreign players has always been the prerogative of the KAFA president (Tan Sri Annuar Musa). Even when Butler was here previously (2009), it was the same.
“It is just that we could not formally introduce the new signing (Onyekachi) to Butler. We have never interfered on the team line-up,” said Azman.
Besides Onyekachi, the other Nigerian in the team for their Super League campaign is centreback Obinna Nwaneri.
Lebanese striker Mohd Ghaddar Mahmoud and Dennis Antwi of Ghana will only feature in the Red Warriors’ AFC Cup campaign which begins next month.
Kelantan’s next game is against Sarawak in a first round match of the FA Cup at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru on Saturday.
“I want the players to focus on the game and let the management resolve the issue with the coach,” said Azman.