Malaysia’s procession of ‘rested’ coaches: do any return?

Coaches being ‘rested’ is all-too common in Malaysian football. But do any of them actually return from their enforced leave or does it prove to be the end of the road? FourFourTwo took a closer look at the unusual practice…

In Malaysia, a coach can be rested anywhere between his second game and well into his second year at a club.

A successful first season provides no security from the dreaded term in ensuing years, as some of the coaches below found out.

Terengganu’s Mike Mulvey became the first casualty since the mid-season break ended in 2016. Two defeats – 1-0 to second-tier side Malacca in the Malaysia Cup and a 6-1 mauling against Kelantan in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) – prompted the Turtles to yield the axe.

Officially, Mulvey is still an employee and has been ‘rested’ but such was the case for his predecessor Ahmad Yusoff in February. Mulvey was initially appointed as Ahmad’s assistant this year but Terengganu decided for a change just nine days into the new season.

So how did some other rested coaches fare? Read on below to find out.

Jacksen F. Tiago

The former Indonesian national team coach is among the few who have spoken out against management following Penang’s decision to rest him for a month in April. He said the management would be “stupid” to reappoint him again and true enough he has not been in the dugout since.

Having led Penang to promotion last year, Tiago’s Panthers found it difficult to match top-flight teams and the Brazilian was later told to skip training and spend April at home.

In June 2016, Tiago told reporters he was still contracted to the Islanders despite the relegation battlers having appointed Nenad Bacina in the hotseat.

Steve Darby

Darby arrived in Kota Bahru in 2014 with optimism that he could return the glory days to Kelantan but mixed fortunes resulted in him being rested, offered the technical director role and later sacked after failing to negotiate a mutual termination just over four months into his two-year contract.

Darby attempted to take the already debt-ridden East Coast club to the cleaners and initially succeeded after winning RM636,000 in compensation for wrongful sacking. Kelantan then ignored attempts to negotiate a payoff but somehow made a successful plea and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) reduced the figure to a mere RM165,000 in May.

Darby later moved to Laos to serve as technical director and national coach, but left that post in 2016.