MELAKA – “I’d be lying if I say I am not aggrieved,” said experienced coach Mat Zan Mat Aris who was unceremoniously dumped by Melaka United for the Super League next season.
Mat Zan, who coached the team for two years and succeeded in making Melaka United the 2015 FAM Cup champions and current season Premier League champions, admitted having a long term plan had he continued with the Mousedeer squad, but it was all “water under the bridge now”.
Mat Zan, 58, said the team management might be doubting his capability in spearheading the squad in the Super League when he in fact also had experience handling teams in the main league.
In fact, the former Kuala Lumpur midfield stalwart in the 1980s who was dubbed ‘Iron man’, said the teams he coached were never relegated but remained in the main league and achieved their own successes.
“Indeed, I had a dream, but when something like this happens, I feel aggrieved especially at the statement made by the Melaka United management,” said Mat Zan, who at one time led Terengganu to emerge champions of the Malaysia Cup in 2001, other than handling the Kuala Lumpur and Pos Malaysia squads.
“What can I do when it has come to this? The people at the top have made the decision, and they have the right to do so, if they don’t want us, why should we go and appeal..sorry lah,” he said.
Prior to this, Melaka United Football Association deputy president Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi confirmed that only 10 players were offered new contracts including the Premier League’s most prolific scorer, Ilija Spasojevic (24 goals) and that Mat Zan also did not feature in the team’s plans next season.
Commenting further, Mat Zan said the Melaka United management had never discussed or raised the issue of a new contract with him although his contract expired in August.
“I continued my responsibility despite not having a contract because there were still matches to play. At that time, the players were also stressed because of the ambiguity of their status and I was forced to motivate them,” he said.
On his plans, the Melaka-born coach confirmed receiving several offers from other teams but had not decided because he was still thinking of Melaka United and other factors.
He said what was crucial currently was getting adequate rest after wading through the Premier League before figuring out his future.
“I also hope Melaka United will go further despite not being under my coaching. Likewise, the team’s supporters must continue backing Melaka United in whatever situation,” he added. – BERNAMA