Skip to main content

Football: Tigers crumble, 'don't expect miracles overnight'

As featured in Malay Mail Afternoon E-Paper today

By Haresh Deol

FIRST they let their country down. Now, they turn their backs on the Jalur Gemilang.

It appears the spat between Johor Darul Ta'zim and the FA of Malaysia (FAM) has escalated to a new level.

Captain Safiq Rahim and Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak quit Harimau Malaysia hours apart yesterday through statements posted on their club (Johor Southern Tigers) Facebook page yesterday.

And more are expected to abandon the sinking ship as the national team continues to produce unconvincing results since the 10-0 thrashing by United Arab Emirates during the World Cup qualifying match last year.

National coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee was tongue tied when asked to comment about the resignations yesterday. But he is bracing for more to leave.

Insiders say more JDT players are expected to discard the national colours, leaving Kim Swee in a lurch as he prepares the team for the Asean Football Federation Cup in November.

A large bulk of Harimau Malaysia comprises of players from the Johor side. They include Izham Tarmizi, Mahalli Jasuli, Fadhli Shas, Fazly Mazlan, Junior Eldstal, Amri Yahyah, S. Kunalan, Amirulhadi Zainal and S. Chanturu.

JDT owner, Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, in his latest criticism against the national team, said the footballers were prone to injuries as they had "only 11-12 days of training throughout their 30-day tour with the national team."

"From June 19-28 they only had four days of training sessions compared to JDT that conducted 19 sessions over the same period. That is the reason why they are injury probe.

"If the players' injuries happen during games and they are roughed up, I can accept it, but if injuries are due to the lack of training, I cannot tolerate it," the Crown prince of Johor said.

He asked those in FAM if there were occupying seats for a specific goal or just to "receive monthly remuneration and cater to own personal interests".

Insiders believe this is the beginning to what could turn into an ugly affair that could see the national team disintegrate.

"Ong would have to rely on new players. But it's going to be tough. It's not like we have a large pool of talent to choose from. We tend to see the same faces all the time," said an insider.

"This could turn ugly for Ong, the national team and FAM. With only four months left before the AFF Cup, there is little that can be done. You can't expect miracles overnight."

Another source said FAM top brass was expected to discuss this matter urgently so as to not disrupt the national team's preparation for the AFF Cup.

"There must be a plan without these two JDT players, and an alternative one if all the JDT players decide to leave. Ong will need to move on quickly. Otherwise, he will suffer the same fate as (former coach) Dollah Salleh did."

The Johor team is now eyeing another shot at glory - the Malaysia Cup. The southern team managed a 2-2 draw against PKNS in a Group C match last night.

"Johor is a fantastic team, has a fantastic set-up ... a team even FAM can learn from. If only both sides would get along. We could then finally see the national team out of the doldrums," a coach, who wished to be anonymous, said.


Popular posts from this blog

Football journo's accreditation card retracted for being 'overly critical'

Four Four Two journalist Vijhay Vick's accreditation card to cover the M-League has been "retracted" by Football Malaysia LLP last night.

The letter, signed by FMLLP chief executive officer Kevin Ramalingam, stated:
"We are open to criticism by the public, however, it has been brought to FMLLP's attention that you have been overly critical of the Malaysian League and have made misleading statements and or shared misleading statements made by third parties. This is very damaging to the image of the League and the brand that we are trying to build."
It remains unclear which articles written by Vijhay are said to be "overly critical" of the Malaysian League.
Vijhay, in responding to the letter he received last night, said: 
"I was shocked (to receive the letter). I would like to know which articles of mine that are overly critical of the league."
It is best if FMLLP explained its definition of being "overly critical". 
While the bo…

Poser over national table tennis association 'RM8 million loans' to private companies

UPDATE (May 20, 2018; 3.15pm):Lawyer representing Table Tennis Association of Malaysia admitted manner in which loans amounting to RM8 million given out by association to two developers was "not right" and that his client is taking steps to terminate the contracts. He said this after attending an exco meeting at the association's office in Bukit Jalil this morning.

The Table Tennis Association of Malaysia (TTAM) has been smashed with allegations of giving out RM8 million worth of "loans" to two developers, raising eyebrows and irking at least two of its affiliates.

A police report has also been lodged over the matter.

According to a letter by the Kuala Lumpur Table Tennis Association (KLTTA), written on May 3:

i. TTAM's Financial Statement (ended March 31, 2018) presented during the 6th Exco Meeting on April 21, 2018 saw a total sum of RM8 million loans granted to two private companies - Ekal Jaya Sdn Bhd and Iktimewah Sdn Bhd (RM4 million …

So what's next for FAM?

UPDATE (March 25, 3.15pm): Tunku Ismail Ibrahim resigns as FA of Malaysia president.
UPDATE (March 17, 9.52am): As of late last night, it's status quo at Wisma FAM.
Tunku Ismail Ibrahim remains as president as "no resignation letter was submitted".
Insiders say Tunku Ismail was "very disturbed and feels unappreciated following critical comments, especially on social media, about the national team's FIFA ranking despite the many other achievements (as listed in the original post below) throughout his close to one year stint in office".
UPDATE (March 16, 8.25am): FA of Malaysia general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin said: 
"Sudah tentu jika kita membiarkan Tunku Ismail meletak jawatan, kita juga akan kehilangan penaja dan saya sendiri tidak dapat membayangkan siapa yang layak untuk menggantikan tempat baginda sebagai Presiden FAM."
Read his full statement here.


UPDATE (March 16, 10.19am): Another FAM official makes a (very short) statement. Below…