TIME TO MOVE FORWARD

Af­fil­i­ates call for unity as Tunku Is­mail pre­pares to lead FAM

New Straits Times - - Sport - TAN SRI AN­NUAR MUSA

DEVINDER SINGH devinder@nst.com.my

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

PIC BY LANO LAN

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.

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