Anger? Suprised? Disgrace? Unfortunate? Upset? What and how to describe Malaysian football fans towards the opening match for Malaysian team for 2009. We were well beaten by UAE 5-0 at our own home soil. Well beaten in front of our own fans. Well beaten in a score line that justifies our real level.
I purposely write this article a few days after the game because I want to see the reactions of fans, medias, big guns of national football scene on the outcome of the game. We have various reactions, be it this, this, and this. Out of reactions we received from this defeat, I like two reactions – from YM Tengku Abdullah and the coach himself, B. Sathianathan. The statements made sounded like a music for me, but certainly not for FAM Management.
If we flash back to the time whenFAM was bombarded due to weak performance by the Malaysian team, which lead to YM Tengku Abdullah resignation from Deputy President post. Just to remind, Malaysia was at 154 FIFA World rankings when he stepped down in July 2007. In September ’07, some new faces in FAM Management were elected and Malaysia was at 159.
We dropped to our worst position in rankings in April 2008 – at 170 in FIFA World Rankings. Slowly we progressed to a better position. We climbed even further when we managed to be in the finals in Pestabola Merdeka ’08. Do remember, even we were runners up in our own football tourney, I criticized the standard of Malaysian football, considering the opponents we had in the tourney. Then we have AFF Suzuki Cup which we did not fair well. We won only once, a jittery victory, and lose to Thai and Vietnam. Well, if one wants to make a reasonable reason – Malaysia lost two finalist of AFF Suzuki Cup. Well done?
Due to our poor performace in AFF Suzuki Cup, we slid to 158 in FIFA World Rankings. Down from the high jump to 151 from 170 after a ‘success’ in Pestabola Merdeka ’08. Slidding 7 places. Well, after a very much media limelight after the ‘success’ in Pestabola Merdeka ’08, 7 places do look bad.
Ok, earlier, I mentioned that the statements made by Tengku Abdullah and B. Sathianathan sounded like a music for me. Why? It reveals the frustration on Malaysian football, which for me, no real development was made by FAM post YM Tengku Abdullah resignation in July ’07. Yes, we did perform well when we lost 2-0 to Chelsea, but it was a pre-season match. I believe, if we take the current level of how we are performing and current Chelsea performance, you do the math.
Someone did take the ‘credit’ when Malaysia went up to 151. He mentioned that his KPI would be on Malaysia’s ranking. He was happy. We were also happy. However now, when Malaysia was thrashed by UAE, should just B Sathianathan be blamed? For me, what B Sathianathan has asked us to be realistic and criticized Malaysian standard of football, I totally agree with him. Why? I would say, last year, we had import players to play with our players in Malaysian League and Kedah benefited well. Now, how Kedah is performing? They lose heavily 4-0 in the opening match against Selangor, the opponenet they beat in the Malaysia Cup finals last year. Some said to me that Kedah has internal crisis, and that’s why Kedah is underperforming. Maybe…
Then, tell me, if our Malaysian league is higher and better than what has been accused by Coach B Sathianathan, how is the attendance at every single match in Malaysian league? Tell me the collection that can be made on every single day of local football match? If it is good, why do teams depend on FAM for financial support? How many of us really know each and every player participating and idolized them instead of knwoing and idolizing BPL, Serie A and La Liga players? Tell me the shirt sales for european club jerseys and local team jersey, which one is better? One more, frankly tell me, which league do people most talk about during office hour, lunch, tea, dinner?
Previously, when Malaysia wasn’t performing well, Tengku Abdullah stepped down after being pressured by football fans. Noble move by a noble family member. It was believed that the new faces can improve Malaysian football. Fair enough, after a hick up drop from 159 to 170, we rose to 151. However we lost the momentum and we dropped to 158, one rank better when YM Tengku Abdullah stepped down. And I believe, soon enough, we will drop more in ranks. New rank will be announced on 11th February 2009, if I am not mistaken. Weird..because, there’s one member that I am very sure that was there and still is when Malaysia was ranked 75 in FIFA World Rankings. So, I opine that Sultan Pahang is not to be blamed.
Why we dropped? I am trying to figure out, but I can’t. I’m more puzzled that even Viatnamese have done better.
Question on the street – should we agree with YM Tengku Abdullah that we need to total revamp current FAM Management?
To look at the Malaysian team progress by rank and historical rank, you can view them here.