Penang set to cut Hodak and Bacina loose

FourFourTwo can reveal that CEO of Penang Bojan Hodak and coach Nenad Bacina are to be released despite saving the team from Malaysian Super League (MSL) relegation.

The Football Association of Penang (PFA) have plans to manage the team and are eager to do a facelift, with plans to hire a local coach for the new season

The Penang state government had pumped in RM19 million into the team on their return to the MSL in six years but the club failed to perform, finishing just one point above relegation.

In April, Penang sacked coach Jacksen Tiago and put Manzoor Azwira Abdul Wahid in charge as caretaker but the team failed to spark earning only seven points from 12 matches before the mid-season break.

Hodak and Bacina then came into the picture and reinforced the team by signing Nigerian Ranti Martins and South Korean Jeong Seok Min.  Penang managed to stay afloat by earning 15 points from 10 matches.

However, Hodak revealed the FAP have decided against retaining him or Bacina due to a personal reason.

“I am not sure where we stand…I hope FAP will made a decision soon. Our key performance index was to help Penang avoid relegation and we achieved it,” said the official.

PKNS coach E. Elavarasan has emerged as the frontrunner for the post and has been offered a two-year contract while Kedah trainer Tan Cheng Hoe is the other candidate in negotiations with PFA.

Penang got excited and wanted to make an immediate impact in the MSL. They had a huge budget but signed several low quality players, both locals and foreigners

- Penang source

Elavarasan not only guided PKNS to their first FA Cup final appearance but also helped them earn a promotion to the MSL after securing second spot in the Malaysian Premier League (MPL) in the recent season.

And while the 51-year-old has been offered a contract extension by the Selangor-based PKNS, he wants to look for a new challenge and Penang are seen as a perfect place for him to start anew.

PKNS, who spent only RM8 million in the recent season, are expected to get a bigger budget as the state sports council want to transfer funds normally reserved for Selangor to the club.

They want PKNS to be ‘the’ elite club in Selangor for the MSL challenge instead of the state team.

The Football Association of Selangor (FAS) have been told to source funds on their own following fallout between their office bearers and officials from the state government.

State assemblyman Zairil Khir Johari wants to be manager of Penang while the state government is likely to slash the team’s budget by half as they have realised that they had overspent in the recent season.

It was a rollercoaster season for Penang as they wasted money hiring and then releasing foreign players who did not perform.

Brazilian Jose Tadeu was signed last December but FAP tore up his contract in February following a poor pre-season. The desperate club then approached Charles Chad but the striker had commitments in Brazil then.

Nigerian Osas Saha was later snapped up but the striker was released in July despite scoring five goals.

Penang have retained 15 players for the new season. However, players are concerned as the club have paid only half of October’s salary due to short of funds.

A source said Penang failed to manage their funds wisely.

“Penang got excited and wanted to make an immediate impact in the MSL. They had a huge budget but signed several low quality players, both locals and foreigners,” it stated.

“They made so many hasty decisions. Hodak was hired to give good advice but they did not listen to him. I believe Hodak is fed up and wants to leave.”