North Queensland Fury chief executive Rabieh Krayem is ruing the loss of two more of its players as the club remains in an uncertain position.
Fury youngsters Osama Malik and Chris Payne this week signed new deals with rival A-League clubs as things in Townsville start to get dire.
Malik will return to Adelaide United whilst Payne has signed a deal with Newcastle Jets, joining Justin Pasfield (Central Coast Mariners) and Isaka Cernak (Melbourne Victory) who have already agreed to leave North Queensland at the end of the season.
Krayem said it was a sad day for the fledgling club, that continues to battle financial hardship, but said he couldn’t bare a grudge toward the players who are only looking out for their playing futures.
“We’ve lost two young players who have a passion for the place [North Queensland Fury] who really wanted to stay here," he said. "And that’s more disappointing for the club.
“It’s probably the worst we’ve felt as a club for a very, very long time. Losing two players who could be the hub of the future of the club in one go, is hard to take.
“We’re very, very disappointed. It’s a pretty emotional day at the club. And when you see the two boys speak about the passion they have for the place... they’re going to go to other clubs with a lot of passion and emotion.
“They go with our blessing and leave the club as better players and individuals.
“We’ve built good characters here. And when they go to their new clubs they’ll say: You know what, Fury is a great club...’
And Krayem was of firm belief that these players will be back in the green of the Fury before long.
"They're only gone for two years. They're only taking a sabbatical. They'll be back at the Fury,” he added.