HOPE ONLY IF...
Changes needed across the board, not only at the top
THE change that many have wanted has taken place in the FA of Malaysia (FAM) as Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is the new president, replacing Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
A potentially divisive fight was avoided when Kelantan FA adviser Tan Sri Annuar Musa withdrew from the race yesterday.
For the long suffering fans, Tunku
Ismail is the perfect individual to lead FAM as he has changed the landscape of Johor football with his ideas, and his commitment has played a major part in Darul Ta’zim’s dominance of Malaysian football these last few years.
Success in Johor, however, was achieved due to Tunku Ismail’s ability to get his team to work on the same wavelength as him and the challenge now for the Johor Crown Prince is to get the same kind of teamwork at the FAM level.
For a start, the 39 delegates who will attend the FAM congress tomorrow must initiate the change that Malaysian football desperately needs.
The power to elect the new president may have been taken out of their hands but in celebrating Tunku Ismail’s victory, one hopes that it won’t lead to a situation where he will be the sole person responsible for Malaysian football.
The major reason why Malaysian football is in dire straits is that too many people have not fulfilled their responsibilities despite coveting positions in associations — be it at the state or national levels.
There is no denying that Malaysian football is rotten — the continued failures of the various national teams prove that — but Tunku Ismail on his own is not going to be able to arrest the decline and plot a way up.
Just like a good football team, the new president will need his teammates to do their part for if they don’t, nothing is going to happen.
The 39 delegates who will decide on the other FAM positions all hold places of power in their respective associations and some will even be elected at tomorrow’s congress.
Those who are elected will pledge total commitment to the national cause but that won’t mean a thing if there is not going to be a change in how FAM’s affiliates govern themselves.
FAM can only change for the better if their affiliates do so and this is something that they can no longer shy away from.
FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin was spot on when he said on Wednesday that there have been many things the national body have done right over the years but it is the national team’s performances which is the ultimate yardstick for success.
Football is an industry which feeds thousands but can we name one Malaysian player who we believe can ply his trade in major European leagues?
The M-League dominates Malaysian football and the annual wheeling and dealing of players shows just how seriously the affiliates take it but why then are the national team whipping boys on the international stage?
The answer lies with the affiliates as the players coming through the ranks are mediocre but this is no fault of theirs.
The players are products of the system and until and unless FAM’s affiliates take a good hard look at themselves and initiate changes in how they develop and manage the game, the national team will struggle at even the Southeast Asian level.
The change at the very top has happened but can there be change across the board?
Only FAM’s affiliates can answer this and if they get the answer wrong, no one can save Malaysian football.
There is no denying that Malaysian football is rotten — the continued failures of the various national teams prove that — but Tunku Ismail on his own is not going to be able to arrest the decline and plot a way up. Just like a good football team, the new president will need his teammates to do their part for if they don’t, nothing is going to happen.
The national team are under pressure to deliver.