TIME TO MOVE FORWARD
Affiliates call for unity as Tunku Ismail prepares to lead FAM
DEVINDER SINGH firstname.lastname@example.org
AS congratulatory messages poured in for Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s success in the FA of Malaysia’s president contest, voices grew calling for the closing of ranks at tomorrow’s congress.
The withdrawal of former Kelantan FA president Tan Sri Annuar Musa from contesting the president’s post at the FAM Congress in Petaling Jaya has opened the way for Tunku Ismail to immediately get the movement to transform Malaysian football underway.
After losing the 2014 vote to Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, Tunku Ismail is set to take his place as the sixth president of the national body since 1951, when leadership of FAM moved into local hands.
Annuar said one reason for his withdrawal is to allow Tunku Ismail to implement his vision to change the face of football in the country.
“It is important that FAM have an executive committee which is capable of maintaining good relations with the government and other stakeholders,” said Annuar in a Facebook posting not long after making his announcement to reporters at Parliament yesterday.
“The exco to be elected must begin their work by getting the cooperation of everyone.
“Having given this matter much thought, I have reached a decision to honour the other candidate, the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), by giving His Highness an unopposed victory and to be declared the new FAM president.
“The commitment and willingness shown by TMJ can be an important asset for FAM. Therefore, TMJ should be given as wide a scope as possible to make something happen for Malaysian football and honour his promises. I pray that the change we seek will soon become a reality.”
Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who was at one point also in the running for the post before withdrawing, said he is looking forward to cooperation with Tunku Ismail.
“We respect Tan Sri Annuar’s decision because he made it voluntarily and he has own reasons in deciding to withdraw,” said Khairy in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“Secondly, I congratulate Tunku Ismail on his win as FAM
SAMB defeated Sime Darby 2-1 while Malaysian Malays overcame Penjara by the same score line in other group matches. president and I am sure that Tunku Ismail has a vision and more importantly, a high ability to chart the future of Malaysian football based on his track record at Darul Ta’zim Football Club.
“We have heard a lot of his ideas which he shared recently, and which I believe can bring positive change.
“I will give my full cooperation and look forward to working with Tunku Ismail, especially in ensuring the National Football Development Programme can be strengthened and help achieve Tunku Ismail’s vision.
“I hope the exco elected (tomorrow) can work with the new president because we need a new team to realise Tunku Ismail’s vision.” Annuar’s call for FAM to improve relations with the government was echoed by Kuala Lumpur FA deputy president Datuk Astaman Abdul Aziz.
Relations between FAM and the government have seen highs and lows but Astaman said a
The top four teams in each group will advance to the quarter-finals with the winners qualifying for the last four.
The finalists will earn automatic good working relationship is needed to take the sport forward.
“I hope Tan Sri Annuar’s withdrawal does not create enemies out of FAM down the line,” Astaman, who is a candidate for one of 10 executive member posts at FAM’s elections, told Timesport.
“For the sake of football, everyone needs to be together in pushing football forward.
“I have always said that the long-term objective for Malaysian football is to improve the national team and the national league.
“Football must be able to generate its own income from the game in order to be able to stand on its own.”
Tunku Ismail faces a huge challenge to effect change with supporters and FAM affiliates alike placing high hopes on the Darul Ta’zim owner.
“We hope His Highness (and the) new leadership will regain the pride of Malaysian football,” the Malacca United Soccer Association said in a congratulatory message.
Meanwhile, FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin said Annuar has not notified the national body of his withdrawal.
“Only the congress on Saturday can officially declare a candidate as a winner,” Hamidin told Bernama.
I have reached a decision to honour the other candidate, the Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ), by giving His Highness an unopposed victory and to be declared the new FAM president.
qualification to the Premier League next season.
The FAM Cup will resume on April 4 for the fifth round of matches. Ajitpal Singh
Ministry of Finance’s Dzaiddin Zainuddin (right) challenges Sabah’s Ricco Nigel Milus in their FA Cup third round tie at Likas Stadium on March 11.