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AFC U23 Championship qualifiers 'not a priority'?


The back pages of the English dailies today.
 ON Wednesday, six out of 26 national Under-22 players turned up for centralised training.

Yesterday, only two remained as the other four were recalled by their teams for this week's M-League matches.

And it looks like former national Under-22 coach Frank Bernhardt is being made the scapegoat for this fiasco.

Why?

Apparently, the German did not priorities the AFC Under-23 qualifiers which begin on July 19 in Bangkok. As his KPI was SEA Games, he was gunning for a good showing at the regional event instead.

And why did his bosses in FAM give in to this?

... (I hope FAM would be able to fill in the blanks) ....

So is it safe to say those responsible in ensuring the progress and success of Malaysian football saw it fit to just think of SEA Games and not the AFC competition?

Why?

- Because we are hosting the SEA Games and must make a good impression?
- Because we will be humiliated in the AFC tournament?

As I wrote yesterday, the poor planning says it all. Coaches come and go but a good, effective plan stays.

And to blame a former coach or a particular committee, as to what is happening now in the corridors of FAM, does not make the situation better.

We don't need a statement from FAM insisting there is no reason to panic as the nation plunges 12 places in the latest Fifa ranking (from 155 to 167).

The national body should instead explain how such poor planning had led to national Under-22 coach Ong Kim Swee postpone the centralised training. It was a waste of time, effort and money.

Plan, have a sense of focus and prioritise - is that too much to ask?

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So what's next for FAM?

UPDATE (March 25, 3.15pm): Tunku Ismail Ibrahim resigns as FA of Malaysia president.
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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".
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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.


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