Fans, coaches and ex-national players alike are peeved about Malaysian football’s double tragedy – failing to qualify for the Singapore Sea Games final and the 6-0 drubbing in our match against the war-torn Palestine.
Just when everyone thought the worst was over for Malaysian football, we have plunged even lower.
How low Malaysian football will go is anyone’s guess. But everyone is in agreement that the rot must stop now.
There have been many suggestions from various quarters on how to lift Malaysian football from the doldrums. Many want coaches Dollah Salleh and Ong Kim Swee to be relieved of their duties. Others want the Harimau Muda teams to be disbanded so that the players can earn a place in the League.
While the FA of Malaysia are accountable for the selection of coaches and should make the appropriate action pending their findings, they will also have to ask themselves if they made the right decision when they parted ways with Datuk K. Rajagobal, who was charting Malaysian football's fortunes starting with the national Under-19 squad and progressing to take charge the national team and saw a good measure of success.
He was ousted by envy, political manoeuvrings, an unfavourable media and a preference for other candidates.
Coming to the national players, many of them are prima donnas from League teams where they are paid fat salaries. So they can hardly be expected to display much fervour and play their hearts out when they don the national colours. Passion, commitment and the value of sacrifice must not mean much to them.
Besides, playing in insignificant leagues overseas is not in the best interests of the national junior teams.
In the meantime, some local coaches who have a chat room called “The Friendship Circle” have been busy giving their views and recommendations after the national team’s recent debacle.
Spot-on is a suggestion by an ex-national player from Penang, who urges the adoption of SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Others suggest a new national team with 19 and 20-year-old players but they stress that these players must not be pampered with ridiculously high salaries.
They say the players must be forced to earn their keep and should only be paid attractive salaries when they produce results, like qualifying for the Olympics or World Cup, or are ranked among the top four in Asia.
They underlined the fact that the team must be given ample time, possibly five years, to mature and achieve their targets.
Yet another suggestion was that only officials who know football should be involved in the management of the team and that young officials with fresh ideas should be allowed to helm the team.
Above all, it is suggested that the capable and dedicated coaches and legends of the game be given an opportunity to formulate a new programme for Malaysian football. These are people who believe nothing is impossible and that Malaysia can prove itself.
They are puzzled though why Malaysia, which has an abundance of facilities and means, could not deliver like Palestine.
Malaysian football needs an urgent revamp that has to be done in a professional manner and without fear and favour. Can we save it from further humiliation?