The newly-appointed Pahang coach is expecting a tough time in his return to the Malaysia Super League, four years since his last adventure. Excited to be back, Razip Ismail shares with FourFourTwo of his daunting task at hand...
Three years at Harimau Muda yielded little results and just when he seemed to be getting a grip of the S.League, Malaysia and Singapore decided to end their football partnership, thus seeing the end of Harimau Muda and LionsXII.
But Razip is now back in the fold after signing a deal to replace Ahmad Shaharuddin Rosdi at Pahang until the end of the season.
Pahang, weakened by a mass exodus of key players, are bottom of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) table after five games and Razip has been tasked to save their season.
The Elephants were also knocked out of the FA Cup by Sime Darby this month.
The 53-year-old is excited by his return to the MSL and felt it has become more competitive since his KL days.
“Of course I’m delighted … I’ve been missing the MSL for the last four years. Whether this is the right moment or not for my return, we will have to wait and see,” Razip told FourFourTwo.
“I noticed the MSL is more competitive now. This is a good opportunity for me so I grabbed it.
“Pahang will be a tough task. They were among the strongest and now are bottom. I need more from the players … need a miracle too. This is a very young squad and I hope to draw my experience with Harimau Muda in the S. League.
“The foreign players will have to play an important role. They need to guide the youngsters and encourage everyone to play as a team,” added Razip, after a meeting with players on Thursday.
Razip, who was in charge of KL from 2008 till their relegation from top flight at the end of the 2012 season, has not had much success since his move to Harimau Muda in 2013.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) development team finished 11th in the S.League in Razip's first year and last in 2014. Last year, the under-22 squad mustered a seventh-place finish before being disbanded in November.
Razip also failed to guide the Malaysian under-22 to the AFC Under-22 championships last year.
"He signed with us at 4pm on Thursday and will remain coach until the end of the season," Pahang FA general-secretary Fuz Zemi Ibrahim told FourFourTwo.
"We have not set a lofty target because we are aware that the squad we have is more of a project one. Razip must keep Pahang in the MSL.
"He has the experience on coaching at a high level and was even Harimau Muda coach last year, something that suits our cause. We have a young team and hope Razip can mould these young players so they become a good team in the long run.
"He may not have the result to back him in recent years but some of those from his team ... the likes of Farhan Abu Bakar and Amirul Hisyam Awang Kechik are doing well in the MSL now," Fuz Zemi said.comments