THE number of foreign coaches in the M-league has been drastically reduced
this season, which in turn has pushed their local counterparts into the
In Premier One, only two teams of the 10 are coached by foreigners -
David Booth (Brunei) and Karl Weigang (Perak).
In Premier Two, there are three foreign coaches in charge - Selangor's
Michael Pejic, Johor FC's Ronald Smith and Johor's Steve Darby.
While the top two Premier Two teams - Selangor and Johor FC - are
coached by foreigners, it is the other case for the top flight, where
locals are hogging the limelight.
Penang's Moey Yoke Ham (pic right) has his team hugging the top of the
table but this is no surprise considering he hit the limelight last year
when he led his players to victory in the League.
The islanders had depended on foreign coaches but now look like they
have made the right decision in hiring a local.
Second-placed Pahang are coached by Fuzzemi Ibrahim, who was only
supposed to be an assistant until he was thrust into the forefront when
Australian coach Alan Davidson resigned just before the season kicked off
Fuzzemi, who is still only a caretaker coach, has done well and Pahang
FA should seriously consider appointing him chief coach on a permanent
While Pahang had problems scoring goals during their pre-season matches
under Davidson, Fuzzemi seems to have turned the team around where they
have scored 11 goals and won three and drawn two matches out of the six
Fuzzemi is a prime example of an understudy coach who has done well in
observing and learning from his experienced superiors. He is also carrying
on the work initiated by Jorgen Larsen, Pahang's coach for two years.
Fuzzemi has also proven his foresight at spotting new talent to
strengthen the team.
Among the players Fuzzemi recruited before the arrival of Davidson were
defender K. Ramachandran, Wan Rohaimi Wan Ismail and Darul Nazri Daniyan,
all of whom are doing well with Pahang.
Ramachandran has provided a steady defence, Wan Rohaimi is the leading
scorer while Darul Nazri has proven to be an able substitute and it is
only a matter of time before he moves into the first XI ranks.
While Fuzzemi's abilities were unearthed by chance, there are several
other local coaches who are doing well with their respective teams.
Among them include Kedah's Azman Eusoff, Kuala Lumpur's Mat Zan Mat
Aris, Sarawak's Jalil Ramli, Malacca's G. Torairaju, Perlis' Tajudin Nor
and Kelantan's Mosthakeen Omar.
The FA of Malaysia increased the grants to State FAs this season in the
hope they would acquire calibre foreign coaches with the intention of
moulding better quality players.
But it turned out to be a blessing when the grant was announced late and
many State FAs had already decided to go local.
There is no doubt that local coaches can learn a great deal from their
foreign counterparts who are willing to impart their experience and
A good idea would be for State FAs to rope in well-known and experienced
technical advisers who can contribute even more to the game with locals
still in charge of the team.
This way, the local coaches will not only have expert advice but the
players can also benefit with the foreign technical advisers around.
These advisers can also spend more time in helping out in the
development, planning and implementation aspects so that a better
foundation can be laid in the States.