Wednesday, August 24, 2016

SEA Games preparation to be decided next week

The Football Association of Malaysia is in a quandary with regards to the preparation of the squad for the 2017 SEA Games.

A meeting between the management and coaching team of the squad with the Secretaries of the various state Football bodies and clubs will be held next week to discuss the preparations.

This is necessary given the fact that the FAM had disbanded the concept of Harmau Muda last year which  basically was having the players under FAM control throughout the year.

This had been the practice since Harimau Muda was first formed in 2006 and resulted in the team going on to win the SEA Games gold in 2009.

However due to pressure from the states, FAM scrapped the Program and opted to do call -up's instead of acing the players in house all year around.

It is learnt that the preparations of the team was discussed at the last FAM Exco meeting on August 15 but the consensus was to defer any decision until it was discussed with the teams that have players in the SEA Games squad.

There are three school of thought - to have the players in full time training, to do call ups from time to time and lastly to have the states/clubs release the players three months before the SEA Games.

Should the option of periodic call ups be implemented, Malaysia can forget about making the final, or even the semis of the SEA Games.

With the reluctance of the states, coupled with the financial burden that FAM will be saddled with should the players come into full time training, this option too looks unlikely.

But without having the team together, the initial idea of playing in the Premier League can also be thrown out of the window.

Hence the best option would be seeking the states to release the players 3 months prior to the SEA Games.

Coupled with the two months break in November and December this year, as well as the one month fasting month break for the M- League in addition to the FIFA dates, the team should have a fairly good preparation, although it largely will depend on the training program .

All this will be answered next week when the stakeholders and FAM have an eye to eye meeting.

 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

This one is for you Malaysia - Lee Chong Wei

In an exclusive phone interview from Rio this morning, Dato Lee Chong Wei shared his thoughts of the match against Lin Dan, the upcoming final against Chen Long and why tears flowed freely down his cheeks after the epic clash against Lin Dan.

" It was to me a fantastic match against Lin Dan and the pressure was tremendous that I just let it out after the match. I just could not control my emotions as I carried on my shoulders the burden of an entire nation. Frankly I feel relieved after that and now I feel much lighter after making the final.

" Lin Dan was gracious in defeat and wished me well for the final, a true champion he gave me a hug and said that I deserved the win.

" Is there additional pressure on me to win the final now that we failed in the mixed doubles and men's doubles? Well we all are sad that we did not get gold from that two events but I salute the pairs for making the final. It was just not meant to be and having been there twice I know how gut wrenching it is.

" Physically I am in a good condition despite the epic clash in the semis and am looking forward for the final.

" Playing morning matches actually works out fine for me as I have trained in mornings all my life, it's just that it's a tougher morning training session for me against Chen Long in the final.

" My Wife and kids have been my pillar of strength and while the youngest does not understand what the euphoria is all about, my eldest boy Kingston is well aware of it.

" I will sit through a video session tonight with my team to analyse the Chen Long match and come up with a game plan,

" The planning started 4 years ago after my defeat at Wembley in the 2012 Olympic Final and this is it as far as I am concerned.

" I will give it my very best and I know that every Malaysian will be rooting for me, I promise not to let you down. I have tasted defeat twice before and this time I want the gold, not for me, not for my family, not for Badminton but for every Malaysian.

" Let's pray that this time things will be different and we get to hear the "Negaraku" being played for the first time at the Olympics.

" This one is for you Malaysia."
 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tell the truth FAM

A bagful of lies.

That is what one can deduce from the press conference held by the Football Association of Malaysia after its Executive Committee Meeting at Wisma FAM on Monday afternoon.

The truth is that FIFA exercised its rights contained in the Congress Hosting Agreement signed between  the two parties to withdraw the hosting rights and terminate the hosting rights of the 67th FIFA Congress awarded to Kuala Lumpur.   This was as a result of a breach of the hosting agreement and Clause  8.5 (IV) gave FIFA the right to terminate the hosting agreement.

So all that was said at the Press Conference was merely words and FAM should make public the letter from FIFA that will clearly show that the Congress was taken away as a result of FIFA invoking clause 8.5 (IV) of the Hosting Agreement.

Let's do a fact check and then readers can deduce what is the truth and what is not.

1. FAM claims they withdrew from being hosts of the 2017 FIFA Congress and it was not withdrawn from them due to issues within FAM.

Fact Check : When this blog first revealed last Thursday night that the 2017 FIFA Congress will not be held in Malaysia next year, why did FAM not issue any statement and opted to issue a "no comment" statement only? And after four days they claim that they withdrew upon advice from the government.

To bid for the Congress there are many forms to be filled in the bid document and one of it is the consent from the government.

In accordance with the 1997 Sports Development Act, any bid for an international event must seek the consent of the Sports Commissioners Office.

Why did it take three years to dawn upon FAM that security was going to be an issue now and not when they bid for it?

A team from FIFA was to come to Malaysia in August to evaluate bids by local companies with regards hosting the congress. 

FAM claimed they sent a letter to FIFA on July 25 stating they wanted to withdraw from hosting the congress. Was the letter stating that FAM wanted to withdraw or was it stating that FAM could not fulfill the requirements  as required in the bid document submitted in October 2013.

Did FAM overlook the issue of granting of visas to non diplomatic countries when making the bid in the first place?

The Deputy Prime Minister made it very clear that it was best for Malaysia not to host the Congress as it might give rise to sensitive matters such as raising the Israeli flag.

Who was given the responsibility of planning for the FIFA Congress? That official should now either be sacked or removed from office for bringing shame to the nation.

So many questions but FAM just sweeps everything under the carpet by saying they withdrew upon security concerns.

Is Malaysia now no longer considered a safe country going by the statement made by the FAM?

Holding up a purported letter or reading out dates of communication does not clear anything other then trying to pull wool over the eyes of those who just accept it as gospel truth.

The bottom line is someone lied, and it surely was not this half blind, kidney less  person who sits 15 hours a week on a chair to prolong his life.

Be a man, stand up and admit you fumbled, take a bow, vacate your position and let the revolution begin.

 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Oh Why Malaysia!

Malaysians can only dream of seeing the Football World Cups or Olympics ever being held on their shores.

With a shift of policy by the government in not allowing visas to citizens of countries it does not have diplomatic relations with, Malaysia will not be able to bid for any sporting event that allows global participation in sports, especially one that has a qualification system that might see a country denied entry into Malaysia.

Questions and eyebrows are being raised as to why the Football Association of Malaysia had bid to host the FIFA Congress in the first place when they could not assure the parent body of entry for all the delegates.

Was in an oversight, a blunder or a shift of government policy that caught all unaware.

In order to understand the situation better, one has to look into several past events to get a more comprehensive idea as to what actually transpired.

In 2002, there was a meeting of the Association of National Olympics Conmittees (ANOC) hosted by Olympic Council of Malaysia and there was participation from Israel. Although their flag was taken down, they still had a small flag placed on their table at the conference.

Next was the Sports For All Conference that was held by OCM in 2008 and this also saw delegates from Israel being allowed to participate.

There was also an IOC Conference hosted by Malaysia last year and although there was an individual from Israel, he travelled to Malaysia on his American passport.  

But over the past year, two sporting events have been affected by the unwritten rule of barring participants from certain countries.

First it was the International  Sailing event followed by the World Cup Table Tennis, both that saw the government denying participants from Israel to compete. However there was no international furore as it was settled amicably.

And when FAM submitted its bid to host the Congress in 2013, they sought support letters from the various agencies, even the Sports Ministry.

Over the past three years surely someone within the government should have realised that FIFA has 209 members, more then even the United Nations and it will consist of countries that have no diplomatic relations with Malaysia. 

Preparations were at the end stage, with a team from FIFA due to arrive this month to evaluate matters and finalise various details. But all that is now gone, no thanks to politics taking precedence over sports.

Sport is supposedly a unifying factor as it has no boundaries, Colour or political divide.

But how wrong we are when it comes to our country as this incident will put us in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Hosting the FIFA Congress would have given us a spot to be on the World map, for the right reasons but today we can only blame the Politicians, for dividing the country through a perfect weapon - sports.

FAM is not to blame, not a single bit as this decision is beyond them. Sadly for once FAM tried to do the right thing but even that went awfully wrong for them.

We can only offer our sympathies to FAM but while the tears will one day dry up, the scars of the day when politics triumphed over sports will remain forever.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

FIFA Take Away 2017 Congress From Malaysia

Malaysia has been stripped of hosting the FIFA Congress scheduled for May next year.

The decision of withdrawing the offer to host the Congress was  communicated to the Football Association of Malaysia earlier this week.

A source from FIFA confirmed the withdrawal of the offer to host the Congress and are on the search for a new host.

It is learnt that the decision to withdraw the hosting right was due to the fact that Malaysia could not guarantee visas for certain countries that are affiliated of FIFA but are not allowed into the country.

Malaysia had made a bid to host the FIFA Congress in October 2013 and were awarded the hosting job in December the same year.

The decision to withdraw the hosting offer will surely be a bitter blow for  the outgoing FAM President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah who is also a FIFA executive council member as he had fought hard for Malaysia to host the meeting.

There is no doubt that hosting the FIFA Congress would have put Malaysia on the world map for the right reasons.

FAM Secretary General Dato Hamidin Mohd Amin could not be reached for comment. 

Friday, August 05, 2016

Will the FAM Exco Quit?

Now that Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has made it crystal clear not once but repeatedly that he is not interested in assuming the Presidency, the search is on for a reputable person who will have a Herculean task to bring Malaysian Football forward.

In leading a national body such as FAM, the personality corn earned must not only be able to handle issues from within the footballing body but outside as well and have the tact to be able to be firm yet knowledgable in sports, not necessarily Football one could say,

Many had raised eyebrows when this blog had revealed last night that the FAM was going to vacate their positions and call for an early elections, as a solution to the impasse with regards to Malaysian Football.

The decision is expected to be taken at the FAM Exco Meeting and this is one of the suggestions or formula put forward by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

One also wonders why the Sports Minister did not offer this formula as a solution to the issues affecting Lawn Tennis Association Malaysia, Malaysian Archery Federation and other associations that face a crisis? Will this now be the yardstick or precedent to resolve issues in sports? Let's leave that argument for a different day.

Back to the FAM presidency and the suggestion that it should be someone who has no state affiliation. But wait a minute as the FAM Constitution stipulates that a candidate must be involved in Football. And nominations actually can only come through the states. So this suggestion can only be implemented with an amendment of the FAM Constitution. Highly unlikely the states will give up their vetting rights!

Next the position of the Exco members come into question,

If they all are stepping down as revealed, then they should not seek re-election into the seats they occupy in the present Exco, meaning a Deputy should either go for the vacant Presidency or leave altogether. But if the term is collective responsibility or solidarity with the outgoing President, then they should not be be in the new Executive Board, period.

As for Tunku Ismail taking charge as the Congress Head of FMLLP , this can only be decided by the representatives of the 24 teams and FAM. It's the ballot box that decides this and not the Sports Minister.

With regards to the Exco meeting on August 15, they need to come up with a timeline to implement the proposals put forward and not delay matters.

The question of changing the national coach also needs to be discussed properly as getting a foreign coach some 90 days before the AFF Cup is a big gamble.

But the Exco will have to make decisions, something they have not done since their captain had abandoned ship last year.

Dare they make any changes or this is just another case of empty vessels making the noise!  

Thursday, August 04, 2016

The KJ- FAM Meeting, the real story

The entire FAM executive council are expected to step down to pave way for fresh elections to be held.

Although the current term of the Exco will only ends in 2018 , it is expected they will step down together with FAM President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

This is expected to happen at the Exco meeting to be held on August 15.

It is learnt that this was one of the proposals put forward by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin when he met the FAM Exco in a briefing of his formula to solve the impasse affecting Malaysian Football of late.

In reality this is nothing new as the FAM Exco had discussed this possibility ( with regards to bringing forward) the elections as a sign of solidarity with the outgoing President and collective responsibility.

The FAM constitution requires 90 days notice for the Congress to be called and with a meeting already scheduled for September 15, FAM could well decide to delay it until December this year and allow the Exco to get a new mandate.

Also discussed at the meeting with Khairy was the role Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim could play in FAM with proposals for him to take over FAM as President or as Manager of the national team.

However this will be further deliberated at the August 15 meeting and with AFF Cup in November, any change with regards to the coaching structure will not be easy to execute as there are contracts involved.

But there will also be a question about coach Dato Ong Kim Swee as his training methods have come under scrutiny. Although Kim Swee has already provided video and other evidence to refute Khairy's public rebuke on high intensity training, the Minister has opted to keep mum on this matter despite a report from his very own National Sports Institute.

It has been made clear that a foreign coach will do better and having said that Kim Swee can start packing together with the Exco.

Also discussed was the offer by the Ministry to lend a helping hand on youth development but it is further learnt that it revolves around the NFDP virtually taking over that role from FAM.

So with no national team to manage, no youth development and with the domestic competitions being handled by FMLLP, the question is does it spell the end of FAM? Will it only be there structurally as a building, without anything to call its own?  

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

A Fair Draw - OKS

Malaysia avoided the group of death when the draw for the AFF Cup was conducted today in Myanmar.

Group A comprises of hosts Philippines,
Thailand,
Singapore and 
Indonesia

While Group B has hosts 
Myanmar,
Malaysia,
Vietnam and a 
Qualifier.

Had Malaysia swapped sports with Thailand, then things would have looked a lot more tougher.

"Though some may say we have a relatively easier draw that is not the case" said national coach Dato Ong Kim Swee.

"We always have a tough time against Vietnam and Myanmar and have to give due respect to the qualifiers as well.

"One has to bear in mind that Myanmar are finishing up their domestic season in three weeks time giving them a solid preparation of two months.

"We need to be well prepared for the tournament and the matches lined up in terms of friendlies will be used to prepare for the matches at the AFF Cup accordingly.

"In terms of the fixtures, it is good as we play the qualifiers first, followed by Vietnam and Myanmar."

While sounding rather optimistic Kim Swee is well aware of the pitfalls that await his team.

With only 3 months remaining the national team has been hit by withdrawals of four senior players and it is learnt that there will be some changes to the national set up in the formula put forward by mediator Khairy Janaluddin

Sunday, July 31, 2016

And the candidates are...

Now that Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim has made it loud and clear that he has no interest in leading FAM, the guessing game starts with regards to who can take over the hot seat of FAM.

This list is not exhaustive and it does not reflect any candidate and honestly only a complete overhaul will help Football, for merely changing the leader.

And one has to look at the FAM constitution which clearly spells out that a candidate must be within the system, meaning he must be a principal office bearer in the state affiliate.

That ruling alone will disqualify many of these candidates but then again this article is written to throw names into the hat, as they are mostly corporate personalities that have done well.

Let's start from within FAM and the first name that comes to mind is Dato Seri Norza Zakaria, the current Treasurer of FAM. He is also the Deputy President of OCM, BAM as well as Chairman of the National Sports Institute.

Next we haveTan Sri Anuar Musa who is the President of Kelantan FA and was once the Deputy President at FAM and was suspended as well.

The third and fourth candidates both have managed Football clubs experience - Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Tan Sri Vincent Tan, who own QPR and Cardiff respectively.

Tony runs Air Asia while Tan is the man behind Berjaya.

The fifth, sixth and seventh candidates come from the corporate world, heading some of the most successful corporate bodies in the country.

They are Tengku Dato Sri Zafrul Aziz the CEO of CIMB, an ardent Liverpool fan, Naza Group of Companies Joint Group Executive Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin and Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad Group Managing Director Tan Sri Salim Fateh Din .

Of the three, Salim has the most involvement in Football as his former company Gapura supported Selangor and he was also the Treasurer of KLFA at one time.

Then of course we have the Sports Minister himself Khairy Jamaluddin who was once FAM Deputy President and he could seek an exemption from Prime Minister on the rule that Ministers cannot hold positions in sports bodies.

There you have it, personalities that can help reshape Football in Malaysia provided they are given a free hand and not be bound by granting favours to whoever puts them there.

These personalities have one thing in common - they are all passionate about their daily work and that is what Football needs to re-invent itself.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

AFC monitory developments in Malaysia

The Asian Football Confederation is monitoring closely the developments with regards to Football in Malaysia.

There has been growing concerns that the role played by Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin could be construed as government interference, something the international Football federation (FIFA) deplores and could risk Malaysia facing sanctions.

Khairy has said that he is playing the role of mediator in the conflict surrounding Malaysian Football and has held discussions with both the FAM President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and JDT owner Tengku Ibrahim Sultan Ibrahim.

And KJ is also seeking a meeting with the FAM Exco to brief them of his solution formula next week.

This has raised eyebrows as it is seen as direct intervention by the Minister especially after it was revealed that FAM Treasurer Dato Seri Norza Zakaria and FAM Head of Finance Dato V. Ampega has provided Tengku Isnail a brief of the financial situation in FAM upon instructions from Khairy.

Both the FAM Deputy President Dato Affandi Hamzah and General Secretary Dato Hamidin Mohd Amin later said they were unaware of the briefing.

AFC General Secretary Dato Windsor John when contacted said , " We are monitoring closely the developments in Malaysia. As to government interference we will act should there be an official complaint from FAM. "

Thus all parties concerned should thread carefully in this matter lest see Malaysia being suspended as was the case of Indonesia

The issue gets more complicated as Tengku Abdullah is a member of the FIFA Executive Board and Malaysia will host the FIFA Congress next year.