NOMINATIONSfor FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) top
posts are a hatful despite Malaysia’s Fifa ranking of 161.
There is much keenness for
posts in an association often criticised by the media for embarrassingly
It will be interesting to see
whether the nominees have come forward with noble motives to revive Malaysian
football’s slumping standards.
Or are the teeming nominations
owed to a desire for the glamour and perks that go with being involved with the
world’s most popular sport?
Inevitably, attenion revolves
around the contest for the president’s post featurning four contestants: Johor
Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Ibrahim, Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, FAM
Integrity Committee chairman Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat, and former FA of Kelantan
president Tan Sri Annuar Musa.
There are 10 nominations for
the two deputy president’s posts and 14 for the four vice-presidential slots.
The nominees have until Feb 13
to confirm acceptance of nominations.
There will be a final executive
council meeting of the current term on that day, after which the confirmed
candidates will be formally announced.
With the exception of Tunku
Ismail who is a popular choice among the affiliates, despite him having stated
he is not interested and throwing his support beind Aseh, the rest must surely
have indicated their keenness to be nominated by the 20 affiliates.
Of course, the nomination of
Khairy surprised many; it is learnt he’s serious and rumoured to have obtained
There has been a tacit
understanding cabinet ministers should not hold posts in sports associations.
The only minister who is still holding
a post in a national sports association is Datuk Shahidan Kassim, the president
of Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (Asum) since 1996. He was last re-elected
He is said to have gained
permission from the cabinet for his foray into a national sports leadership
Khairy is, without doubt,
passionate about football and has been steering the National Football
Development Programme (NFDP).
There have been indications
Khairy could move up to the education ministry. He has already said the sports
and education ministries should be twinned.
But the question is, should he
run for the president’s post, will it not be a conflict of interest between
specifically tending to FAM and minding the general store of all sports
associations in the country?
How will the national sports
associations (NSAs) react if he decides to run?
On the grapevine, the
indications are it will be a two-cornered fight between Khairy and Aseh.
Tunku Ismail and Annuar are
expected to make way. Annuar is also going for deputy president.
Interesting days ahead indeed,
but whether at the elective congress on March 2, the better candidates win is
left to be seen.
FAM are infamous for internal
politics wherein affiliates vote candidates who will look after their interests.
Keen campaigning is going on
and indications are that votes will be cast for subservient candidates instead
of independently critical ones who are prepared to work and possess ideas to
turn Malaysian football around.
There is speculation all the
early excitement could just fizzle out.
Let us not be fooled anyone who
helms FAM will be able to turn around Malaysia’s fortunes on short order.
A turnaround is going to be a
long term process; whether the fans will be patient and support the plans is
another question altogether.
Besides, the affiliates could
well be a difficult bunch to deal with for the new president.
It’s no surprise in FAM, the
real power brokers are the ones who hold sway in the pre-council meetings, held
before the actual council meetings take place.
The actual council meetings are
a breeze, merely endorsing pre-arranged decisions.
Will all that change under a
new regime or will it be a continuation of the status quo?
There are many power brokers
and they will definitely be working overtime in the intense prelude to the
Let’s hope and pray the right
choices are made.
Wishing all Chinese Malaysians
a Happy Lunar New Year.
I hope the year of the rooster
will see Malaysian football preen with pride rather than sink in embarrassment.
TONY is a sports journalist with close to four decades of
experience and is passionate about local sports.