Thursday, September 24, 2009
Think before you speak or you have to eat your words!
Former national coach B. Sathianathan, who became famous overnight for his statement "Malaysian football is no football" is now the Kelantan coach.
Sathianathan made the statement after the national team's 5-0 lose to United Arab Emirates in an Asian Cup qualifier in January.
Today, he is back to coach a team in a League which he regarded as "no football."
So is he on a mission to make the Malaysian League a top League, or was it the salary that lured him to coach Kelantan, despite having to handle a team in "no football League."
Till today, i wonder why it took Sathianathan so long to come to the realisation that "Malaysian football is no football" and only made his observation known after his team's defeat to UAE.
It puzzles me that Sathianathan who himself grew from the Malaysian league as a Negri Sembilan player and involved in Malaysian soccer for a reasonably longtime, only made his stand at such a late stage.
Did he not know about Malaysian soccer when he took the appointment as national coach and when he was assistant coach to Englishman Allan Harris or when he was assistant coach for the Olympics team - 1997-1999 and 2002-2004.
Sathianathan was rumoured to coach in India and in fact, he was in India when he was supposed to have received a text message from Kelantan FA president (Tan Sri Annuar Musa) to ask him if he was interested to coach Kelantan. He was in Kelantan in a jiffy to take up the appointment.
What Sathianathan said about Malaysian soccer is nothing new. Everyone involved in the game who are passionate, knows for a fact that Malaysian soccer has deteriorated.
However, it is more important what one does to revive Malaysian football and make it better, than to make statements which mean nothing. Sathianathan was the national coach and if he could not make it better, then he should not have taken the job.
It is hoped Sathianathan now proves something with Kelantan to make Malaysian league a better ground.
Best wishes and luck to Sathianathan. It would be interesting to see how he changes Malaysian soccer fortunes overnight.
And Sathianathan is not the only one who has been in a high position in Malaysian soccer and belittled Malaysian soccer, but have not done anything concrete to improve the game.
Many of them are still involved in the local league, moving from one team to another but hardly making a difference to Malaysian football.
Then we have foreign coaches who make their living on Malaysian soil and then ridicule Malaysian soccer.
We had a Technical Director who had a Road Map for Malaysian soccer which only took us lower in our world ranking, and then went to coach a State team. Now he is coaching a club in a neighbouring country.
Another who coached in the Malaysian League before becoming a national coach, is back in Malaysia coaching another State team after all these years.
To make matters worse most of these foreign coaches earned their soccer badges in Malaysia.
Malaysian soccer surely must be the suckers for sweet talkers with a gift of the gap, instead of their football knowledge.
On contrary look at our neighbours Thailand. While Malaysia is still talking about winning the Sea Games gold medal which we last won in 1989, Thailand are talking about the Asian Cup, the Olympics and even the World Cup.
Thailand has just signed on former England captain Bryan Robson on a four-year-contract. The former Manchester United midfielder is given the task to build a squad capable of reaching the 2014 World Cup finals.
Robson takes over from another Englishman, Peter Reid, who has taken appointment as Stoke City's assistant manager.
Robson has managed four English clubs and his last club was Sheffield United which he quit in February last year.
The difference with Thailand is that they have ambitions, lay down long-term plans and hire top coaches, unlike in Malaysia where we get sweet talked by coaches who make a living out of Malaysian football but have no real interest in the development of the game.
Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and even Laos will continue to over shadow Malaysia for as long as we are short-sighted, are not willing to spend money for the best in the game and neglect grassroot development.
We have something going with the National Under-23 team and let us work on it and use it as a launching pad to put Malaysian football back in the world map!