Zainal Abidin Hassan moves closer to taking over as Selangor coach
Former Pahang boss Zainal Abidin Hassan moved closer to taking over as Selangor head coach for the 2016 season on Friday.
The 54-year-old is on the verge of being appointed as Mehmet Durakovic's successor just a week after the Australian guided Selangor to their first Malaysia Cup title in 10 years with a 2-0 victory over Kedah in last Saturday's final.
The arrival of four former Pahang players -- goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid, defender Razman Roslan, playmaker Hafiz Kamal and winger R. Gopinathan for next season -- increases speculation that the ex-national striker is about to be appointed.
Meanwhile, Pahang's Malaysia international winger, Azamuddin Akil has joined Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT).
Zainal addressed the media in Kuantan to explain his departure from Pahang, saying that he'd received the blessings from the state's FA president Tengku Abdul Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah.
He stopped short of mentioning that he would be joining Selangor, just that it would be a team in the Klang Valley area. PDRM FA are another MSL club who are yet to appoint a new coach for the 2016 season.
"I discussed the matter with Tengku Muda [Tengku Abdul Rahman Sultan Ahmad Shah] and stated that I wanted to move to be closer with my family," he said after the farewell dinner in Kuantan on Thursday.
Zainal's departure from Pahang increases speculation about the likely destination of former Australia defender Durakovic.
Sources tell ESPN FC that the 50-year-old, who led the Red Giants to consecutive second place finishes in the Malaysia Super League (MSL), would receive a generous payoff, with one year remaining on his contract, if he moved on.
Last Saturday's victory meant that the ex-Melbourne Victory boss became the first foreigner to lift the Malaysia Cup as a player and coach.
Giant defender Robbie Cornthwaite, another Australian, was released by the club only to be retained 24 hours later after intense pressure from fans.
Selangor, under Durakovic, defeated Zainal's Pahang in the semfinals of the Malaysia Cup earlier this month on the way to securing their record 33rd title.