BAT­TLE ROYALE

An­nuar with­drawal set to re­sult in tough bat­tle for FAM deputy pres­i­dent’s posts

New Straits Times - - Sport - DEVIN­DER SINGH devin­der@nst.com.my

WITH Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim hav­ing se­cured the FA of Malaysia’s pres­i­dent’s post even be­fore to­day’s congress in Pe­tal­ing Jaya, at­ten­tion turns to who will be his two deputies.

Three can­di­dates are vy­ing to be sec­ond-in-com­mand to pres­i­dent-in-wait­ing Tunku Is­mail, in­clud­ing in­cum­bent Datuk Seri Afandi Hamzah, who faces a bat­tle to re­main in of­fice against Datuk Seri Suba­han Ka­mal and Datuk Yu­soff Ma­hadi.

The other deputy pres­i­dent, Datuk Mokhtar Ah­mad, chose not to de­fend his post.

For­mer Ke­lan­tan FA pres­i­dent Tan Sri An­nuar Musa’s with­drawal from the pres­i­dent’s con­test on Thurs­day, which handed Tunku Is­mail vic­tory, could have an ef­fect on how the elec­tion plays out on not just the two deputy pres­i­dent po­si­tions but also for the four vice-pres­i­dents posts.

Sources say the camp which had been set to vote for An­nuar is now in dis­ar­ray, with An­nuar him­self say­ing he did not con­sult his sup­port­ers in mak­ing his de­ci­sion to pull out of the race.

This could have reper­cus­sions for Afandi, who is the act­ing Ke­lan­tan FA pres­i­dent, and Ke­lan­tan FA vice-pres­i­dent Datuk Ros­madi Is­mail, one of eight can­di­dates look­ing to be­come FAM vice-pres­i­dent.

One FAM af­fil­i­ate is even split down the mid­dle in its sup­port for var­i­ous can­di­dates and may now be look­ing to change its del­e­gates now that An­nuar has with­drawn.

The af­fil­i­ate had been a keen An­nuar backer but its’ pres­i­dent has now been left with a sense of be­trayal and may not even at­tend to­day’s congress.

“An­nuar’s sup­port­ers must now think care­fully of who they want to vote for. Their orig­i­nal plan has gone out of the win­dow now that An­nuar has with­drawn,” said one can­di­date, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied for fear of jeop­ar­dis­ing his own chances.

“They could in­stead reach a com­pro­mise, for ex­am­ple, by throw­ing all their sup­port be­hind ei­ther Afandi or Ros­madi, but not both.”

The be­lieve is that with Tunku Is­mail cer­tain to be­come pres­i­dent, the Jo­hor Crown Prince’s back­ers will over­whelm­ingly vote for those seen as ca­pa­ble of work­ing well with the in­com­ing FAM boss.

This could well see Malacca FA deputy pres­i­dent Yu­soff, a long­time ally of Tunku Is­mail, hand­ily win one of the deputy pres­i­dent posts and leave Afandi bat­tling it out with new FA of Se­lan­gor pres­i­dent Suba­han for the other seat.

But if the last elec­tion in 2014 is any in­di­ca­tor, the out­come will be dif­fi­cult to pre­dict.

Suba­han lost a three-way bat­tle for the two deputy pres­i­dent posts in 2014 by a sin­gle vote to Mokhtar, who in turn polled one vote less than Afandi.

Mean­while, Datuk Zainol Fadzi Pa­harudin has cho­sen not to de­fend his vice-pres­i­dent’s post, thus re­duc­ing the field to eight can­di­dates.

Zainol, who stepped down as Perak FA pres­i­dent in 2015, said he made the de­ci­sion to make way for others to make a con­tri­bu­tion in FAM.

Tunku Is­mail Sul­tan Ibrahim will be­come FAM pres­i­dent to­day.

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