Publication : MM
Date : 18/11/2005
Headline : State FAs must change mindset
MALAYSIAN soccer is not just about the M-League.
The sooner this sinks into the mindset of State FAs, the better the
chances Malaysian soccer has of rising to a respectable level.
Even FA of Malaysia (FAM) have made this admission, whereby they have
started to pay more emphasis to a more professional set-up in line with
the requirements of the world governing body, FIFA.
FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who is also the
Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, was the first to admit there should be more
focus on the development aspect, which can be achieved only with the
State FAs' support.
After last week's three-day FIFA.Com-Unity workshop, where experts in
their respective fields discussed relationship management, communication,
media and marketing, it was evident these areas were severely lacking in
This only prompted Tengku Abdullah into giving an undertaking that the
situation will change for the better.
For once, FAM have decided on a long-term goal instead of their normal
short-term targets, most of which have ended in disappointment.
The fact that Tengku Abdullah is dead-serious on establishing a road
map to lead the country to the World Cup by 2022 is a positive sign.
Acknowledging the massive task ahead, Tengku Abdullah has decided to
form a joint consultative committee to be chaired by the Deputy Prime
Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
However, neither FAM nor any committee alone can be responsible for the
resurrection of Malaysian soccer.
The game is not only dependent on the national body, but also State FAs
- the legs and arms of FAM.
For starters, it is about time State FA presidents, the majority of
them being Mentris Besar, Chief Ministers, governors or political
figures, should attend FAM Council meetings.
But most of the time, State FAs are represented by their
secretary-generals or nominated officials.
While some secretary-generals are hands-on in virtually running their
State FAs, many are just figure-heads with all decisions made by their
And this is where the problem lies because State FA heads are not
involved in implementing the decisions and visions of the national body.
It is about time these presidents take a more serious view of the game
in their respective States, than just attending M-League matches from
time to time, giving help in securing financial aid and attending several
State FA Council meetings in a year.
If they cannot find the time because of their hectic schedules, then
they should vacate their seat for someone who has the time and interest
in the game.
At the last Council meeting, three State FAs did not send
representatives, and of the 11 State FAs in attendance, none had their
presidents present. In addition, several independently-appointed members
and Exco members were also absent.
Another startling observation was that Datuk Anifah Aman, the football
team manager for the Manila SEA Games, has not been spending much time
with the players
And indications are the Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy
Minister will not be present in Bacolod City for Malaysia's opening match
on Monday as he has to attend to some urgent matters.
Soccer no longer holds amateurish or part-time status. Professionals
are required to run it at all levels in each association.
We need a chief executive, a financial director, marketing managers,
sponsorship managers, media manager and technical staff to head the
various departments of the game, while administration and a building they
can call their own to work from.
FIFA have clearly stated that an association these days cannot expect
to effectively meet the demands of modern football if their leading
positions are filled by volunteers.
Malaysia soccer is indeed blessed because the Asian Football
Confederation and one of FIFA's 12 Goal Development Offices are based in
Other countries are also gaining much from the offices here and it is a
pity they are not being made full use of by local bodies in boosting the
It's time all soccer administrators realise the national game needs an
urgent injection of professionalism. And if these individuals do not
accept this fact and change their ways for the better soon, the visions
of Tengku Abdullah in seeing Malaysia in the World Cup before 2022 may
just remain a dream!