Sunday, March 21, 1999

Speak out (The Sunday Mail)

FOREIGN coaches are of no help to Malaysian soccer if they choose to play
Mr Nice Guy to the State FAs.
If their sole purpose in coming here is just to make money and nothing
else, it defeats the FA of Malaysia's purpose of throwing open the M-
League doors to them.
After all, despite having had several foreign coaches plying their trade
in the League, Malaysia's football standards have only got from bad to
So trying to be diplomatic when the situation calls for honesty will not
help matters. The truth may be painful, even ugly, but how else are we
learn what the problems are if the very people engaged to improve things
don't speak out.
We don't need coaches who are too afraid to give the true picture. They
must be brave enough to call it as it is.
The simple fact is that the disease-ridden Malaysian soccer needs the
right diagnosis so that proper medication can be prescribed.
Nothing else will do, least of all pretending that everything is hunky
Alan Davidson suddenly quit as Pahang coach days, before the new season
kicked off, citing personal problems back home in Melbourne.
But it is no secret that the Australian could not get along with
assistant coach Fuzzemi Ibrahim and team manager Talib Sulaiman. That
their interference, more than anything else, could have prompted his
Probably not wanting to upset the Pahang FA or encounter problems with
his contract, Davidson chose to say that he was opting out on personal
While Davidson refused to compromise on his principles as a coach, he
could have done Malaysia soccer a big favour by revealing the real
It would have gone a long way towards exposing the weaknesses in our
system as interfering officials are a bane of the game.
Perak's Karl Weigang has lots to say about the state of Malaysian
soccer. But he too chooses to be "diplomatic" where it concerns his
employers - Perak.
There are a whole lot of things wrong with the manner in which the FA is
run, from administrative snafus to thefailure to keep proper accounts.
Of course how the FA is run is not Weigang's concern, but there are
football issues which need to be addressed as well.
Weigang says his relationship with Perak was based on the "trust,
confidence and respect" he had for FA deputy president Datuk Raja Ahmad
Zainuddin Omar.
But surely, football is more than just friendship between two men.
While one admires his loyalty, it would be a bigger help if coaches like
Weigang and Davidson spoke their minds when the need arises.
It would have opened the eyes of the soccer fraternity, and FA, to what
is really happening.
Training a team is one thing. We need these coaches to help raise the
standards of the game with their ideas and expertise. That means voicing
their discontent and complaints when, and if, necessary.
The least the foreign coaches can do is act like the professionals they
claim to be and make their presence felt.
An increasing number of foreign coaches are finding it difficult to work
in Malaysia because of interference and politicking from local officials.
When they first arrive here, they claim to be true professionals and
will tolerate no nonsense from others. But it is only a matter of time
before they get engrossed in the good life and play to the tune of their
employers until their contracts end.
Until and unless these foreign coaches disclose or expose the ills of
the FAs, and any other matters concerning the League, the progress of
Malaysian soccer will continue to be be stymied.
Isn't it ironic that we pay good money for foreign coaches to come here
and teach us and yet our officials are telling them what to do?
We want foreign coaches who leave behind foundations and legacies, and
not just have their names associated with Malaysia Cup or League title
It is all about setting up good development programmes and
infrastructure for State FAs; producing players of the future and grooming
local coaches to take over; teaching proper and professional management
and other areas related to the improvement of the game.
Over the years, we have had foreign coaches who contributed much to the
development of the game. Among them are Dr Josef Venglos (KL), Fred Binney
(Pahang), Milous Kvacek (Kedah), Mike Brown (Pahang), Marco Bilic
(Terengganu), Ken Shellito (Selangor/Sabah), Ron Smith (Sabah) and Jorgen
Larsen (Pahang).
But their good work was soon undone, overwhelmed by the ills which
continue to plague the game. For the sake of Malaysian soccer, please be
honest, please call it as it is.

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