(The great Mokhtar Dahari in action – photo source: http://www.nst.com.my)
I hope it is the start of new things…it’s about time anyway!
I was at my neighbor’s house couple days ago for his house warming kenduri. I arrived late and just after his “doa selamat” prayers, the function started. The food was great especially the home made grilled fish (my neighbor’s cousin was attending the cooking and keep asking me to eat more). After I had finished my meals, I sat down and chatted with some of my neighbors’ relatives and one of the topics that came up was about sorry state of Malaysian football.
Almost everyone seems angry when that topic came up – not to mention after our local boys took heavy beating with China previous nights. One of the neighbors remarked that once upon a time, Malaysia had no problem beating South Korea but now; even the minnows have no problem beating us. Another remarked that other countries have professionals running the show but in Malaysia, we have a Sultan heading the show – so what do you expect?
I kept quiet as I listening men in their 40s and 50s talked about the current condition of the football team and how it used to be in the 70s and 80s. Certainly they were angry of having the local team as the whipping boys. In the end, one of them summarized the sorry state of the Malaysian football – that there is too much politics in the FAM.
It is too much politics or too many politicians? I do not know for certain but you and I know how the top management of the football team is headed by politicians (Chief Ministers most of the time). Some of you may think that oh great, we have the royalty and some politicians running the show and that is why our football team is a big disgrace. I don’t have to recall how some high ranking FAM officials remained in their seats for years whilst good coaches and managers came in and out on seasonal basis.
But hold on there. It is hard to say that only the council is the only responsible for the weak national team because it may not be so. The council may make policies and decisions (may not be wise one sometimes) but if the State level FAs do not manage it well or if the team management professionalism is not to up mark or the player is not motivated enough, certainly things can go wrong and by the look of the national team, it has indeed gone wrong. Probably what is missing here is professionalism.
Have a contrast here on English FA council. The council is indeed headed by a royalty, pretty much like our own FAM but the management level starts at the Chairman’s level. Geoff Thompson is a magistrate whilst Brian Barwick, the CEO of English FA is a sports journalist. The rest of them are people with long history in managing football clubs and team.
No offence to the current FAM council but the right way for FAM is to bring the right person in – for those in the council and higher management, you had your day basking in high position but nothing positive come out for the local football scene who remains a “jaguh kampung” (village champion). They are – champions when playing between States but means nothing when playing between countries. It’s time to move on. We just hope that new people will bring fresh ideas and some enthusiasm into the game.
We don’t lack good players (some are as good as Brazilian players) but this right direction at the top and tight coordination to ground level is something to start with. Of course, Tengku Abdullah realized this sooner than the rest and tendered his resignation.
I am wondering who will be the next to go – we have been the “joke” in Asian football for far too long now.