Friday, November 11, 2016



Level Field

Just do the right thing!

JOHOR DARUL TA’ZIM’S success as stated by Johor’s Crown Prince is a formula State FAs and clubs are aware of.
In fact, what Tunku Ismail Ibrahim said has been tried before.
It has been repeated over and over at seminars by Asian Football Confederation and FA of Malaysia, but State FAs ignore it or have their own formulas which often end in failure.
Will State FAs and clubs pay any heed, it is a million ringgit question.
JDT’s path is similar to the route taken by Kuala Lumpur, Kedah and Johor.
Three men with football vision, passion and heart for the game and considered “Godfathers” of the game — Tan Sri Elyas Omar (KL), Datuk Suleiman Mohd Noor (Johor) and the late Datuk Ahmad Basri Akil (Kedah) — raised formidable teams from scratch and paid emphasis to grassroots to make their teams power houses in the 1980s.
Sadly, after their exit, their programmes and vision were not followed through.
Everything Tunku Ismail outlined for success of a team were:
Have a professional organisation
FA be independent to source for funds and not depend on FAM
Quality players and coaching staff to make an immediate impact and gain following:
Aim high
Emphasis on development programme 
and long term goals
Playing top international teams and overseas stints
Spending money wisely and thriftily
Good governance and accountability
Good foundation to supply quality players for state and national teams.
Proper facilities and manage it professionally
Tunku Ismail was spot on when he said: “We (state FAs) have to change. If not, we are not going to get anywhere and it is going to get worse.”
The problem is a majority of the State FAs have their own agendas and hold post more for their own benefit than the game.
In fact, State FAs are the ones to be blamed for the poor standard.
State FA officials in FAM who make decisions, are more interested in their own well-being.
It is no surprise these affiliates have “pre-council” meetings to decide what they want to propose or pass.
We need officials who have the game and the welfare of players at heart.
It is about time, everyone aims high and stop being satisfied with victories at SEA Games and AFF Cup.
Whoever helms FAM come March, has to be tough and demand nothing less than the best.
FAM should take a cue from Fifa who said they will cut funding to errant national FAs.
In more serious cases, Fifa can intervene and even suspend FAs.
For far too long FAM have been too lenient to affiliates and it is time to wield the sword.
Everything has been in place in Malaysia including subsidies.
In the 1980s and 1990s it was RM1 million with guidelines on how it was supposed to be spent — 50 per cent for the team, 20 per cent for development and youth teams, 10 per cent for administration, 10 per cent for referees’ development etc …
But most State FAs spent their money on M-League teams and foreign players.
Former FAM secretary-general the late Datuk Paul Mony Samuel, told me once when audited accounts were requested for the subsidy, FAs turned around and said how they spend their money was their internal affair!
Until State FAs and clubs change their mindset, Malaysia football will continue to stay in the doldrums.
It is time State FAs shape up, stand up and be counted to save Malaysian football from further embarrassment.

TONY is a sports
journalist close to
four decades of experience
and is passionate about
local sports.
He can be reached at

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