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Exclusive: Kelantan exit wasn’t due to financial issues – Amirizdwan Taj

Terengganu stole the show on Wednesday after announcing the capture of three Malaysian internationals in the form of Joseph Kalang Tie, Yong Kuong Yong as well as Amirizdwan Taj, who was captured from their close rivals, Kelantan.

Taj joined the Red Warriors – his hometown team – in April this year after spending three years with ATM and he immediately became a regular fixture as well as a fan favourite, with his impeccable displays.

A few weeks ago though, speculations of his departure became rife, with Kelantan’s well-documented financial issues dominating the narrative. Taj though – after signing his contract with the Turtles yesterday – claims that his departure was ultimately fueled by other reasons.

Photo Credit: Terengganu FA
Photo Credit: Terengganu FA

“To be honest, I didn’t leave Kelantan because of salary payment issues. There were several other problems that I’ll keep confidential, out of respect to them,” he told FourthOfficial.com

The 29 year-old is widely recognized as one of the best defenders in the country – precisely why he received multiple offers as soon as it was apparent that he was set to leave Kelantan. However, Terengganu was always the likeliest destination for him.

“I chose Terengganu because they really look serious with their goals and ambitions. They’ve signed some good players, coupled with their existing squad, which is pretty solid as well.

“But beyond that, this place is not completely alien to me. I’ve lived and studied here before, during my younger days. So I’m certainly comfortable with this move. Right now, I’m just happy to have signed the contract and I’m already looking forward to the new season,” he added.

Photo Credit: Terengganu FA
Photo Credit: Terengganu FA

The Turtles are visibly preparing a squad to mount a title challenge next year. Besides their new acquisitions, they’ve already extended the contracts of Issey Nakajima as well as Gustavo Lopez – who were arguably their most influential players in 2015.

Despite finishing fourth in the Malaysia Super League this year, Terengganu went on to struggle in the Malaysia Cup. Taj believes that the team will be revived and rejuvenated next year and he’s already hoping to clinch silverware with his new side.

“I really hope we become a strong contender next year, especially with the squad we have here right now. Maybe we can go on to clinch a trophy or two,” Taj concluded.

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