Cornthwaite stays but Durakovic’s Selangor future still unclear

The Malaysia Cup winners have extended defender Robert Cornwaite’s stay just days after showing him the door, but compatriot Mehmet Durakovic’s future as coach will only be announced next week.

Selangor have bowed to public pressure and announced that Cornthwaite will stay with the club next season, though Brazilians Guilherme De Paula and Leandro Dos Santos will leave despite helping the Red Giants to a record 33rd Malaysia Cup trophy.

On Wednesday, Cornthwaite told FourFourTwo that the Selangor management had told him of their decision to part ways, but club president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali later insisted that no decision was reached.

Public fallout arising over speculation of Cornthwaite’s future followed, however, leading Selangor to include Cornthwaite’s name among those staying next season at an impromptu press conference on Friday.

“I am happy to stay. If I had any ill-feelings over what transpired in the last few days, I wouldn’t not have resigned,” Cornthwaite told FourFourTwo following the latest announcement.

I am grateful that the fans appreciate my services at the club. I can’t wait to repay them again next year.

- Robert Cornwaite

“I guess this decision was taken after taking into consideration what the fans felt about me leaving. I am grateful that the fans appreciate my services at the club. I can’t wait to repay them again next year.”

Andik Vermansyah, skipper Shahrom Kalam, Azrif Nasrulhaq, Nazmi Faiz Mansor, Norazlan Razali, Rizal Fahmi, Saiful Ridzuan, S. Veenod, Ahmad Hazwan Bakri, Bunyamin Omar, Raimi Md Nor, Fitri Shazwan, Abdul Hadi Yahya and Azmi Muslim will all join the Australian in staying in 2016.

Cornthwaite was a key part of the Selangor side that clinched the Malaysia Cup.

Selangor also announced the signing of Pahang quartet Khairul Azhan Khalid, Razman Roslan, Hafiz Kamal and R. Gopinathan as talk of former Pahang coach Zainal Abidin Hassan taking over the reins next seaso intensifies.

FourFourTwo understands that Zainal, who on Thursday confirmed talks with Selangor, will be announced as Durakovic’s replacement next week as the Red Giants do not want this weekend’s Malaysia Cup celebration parade to take place on a sour note.

Selangor refused to comment on the speculation of who would be coach, but confirmed that they are “in talks with Durakovic and a few others”.

The uncertainty has come as a surprise considering Durakovic met the one-trophy target set at the start of the season, and still has one more year left on his contract.

Photos: Selangor FA Facebook