'I was the manager'
By Haresh Deol February 03, 2009 Categories: Soccer
Khairy Jamaluddin yesterday took a brave and often unseen stance yesterday. He said the FA of Malaysia should have sacked him as well, as he was the designated national team manager.
He said this in response to the removal of Datuk Soh Chin Aun as "team manager" and B. Satianathan as national coach two days ago.
Khairy, who is also FAM deputy president, said he had passed on the role to Chin Aun but effectively remained the national team supremo.
"The responsibility was with both of us actually. It wasn’t fair to zero in on Chin Aun alone," said Khairy, who did not attend the FAM Exco meeting on Sunday.
"Perhaps, they (FAM) were trying to be polite. I was appointed team manager but was on the bench only once — when Malaysia played Chelsea. That time, too, I sat alongside Chin Aun.
"I passed my duties to Chin Aun and he was always registered as team manager. He even played that role at the Sea Games (Korat 2007), until the match against UAE recently."
It was apparently a private arrangement between Khairy and Chin Aun.
At the FAM meeting, chaired by president Sultan Ahmad Shah, Satianathan and Chin Aun were sacked. This came about after Malaysia’s 5-0 defeat to UAE in the 2011 Asian Cup qualifying match at the KL Stadium in Cheras last month.
The national team also produced lethargic performances during the AFF tournament in Phuket last December which saw the Malaysian Tigers suffer a premature exit after losing to Vietnam and Thailand in the group stage.
The FAM move raised eye-brows as Khairy was the appointed team manager and Chin Aun was merely the assistant. Vice-president Datuk Gulzar Mohammad is the surprise new team manager.
When asked if Gulzar was the right candidate for the job, Khairy added: "I was not at the meeting. So it is best for me not to comment. However, we will continue to support the new officials."
Khairy is now tasked to lead a seven-man team to meet Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaacob tomorrow. The meeting is to discuss how the ministry can assist FAM’s development programmes.
FAM also hope to get an update on the RM12 million supposedly promised to them during Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said’s tenure as Sports Minister.