Wednesday, April 2, 1997

Truth hurts! (The Malay Mail)

HERE is one policeman who shoots straight and talks straight. And he
provides a good blast for Malaysian soccer.
Dell Akhbar Khan, the new Malaysian soccer team manager, is a man who
calls a spade a spade, buries the incompetents and give slackers the full
double barrel.
Expressing his intentions and views without prejudice, fear or favour,
Dell can give hell.
The Federal Traffic Deputy Assistant Commissioner doesn't promise false
hopes and holds nothing back. And the truth needs to be heard if Malaysian
soccer is to improve.
Many may take umbrage when Dell said Malaysian soccer is not ready to
challenge teams like Saudi Arabia. Malaysia lost 3-0 to the Saudis, no
It was the truth and, more often then not, the truth hurts.
Finally, the national team are run by a manager who not only really
knows the game, being a former international, but also possesses a
recognised coaching certificate.
A shrewd match analyst, Dell has formal training in this aspect having
attended a recent course in Brazil.
And it is about time his reports are taken seriously if Malaysian soccer
is to have a future.
He has got a good working partner in national coach Wan Jamak Wan
Hassan. They respect each other's views and work as a team.
Dell's assessment of the present Malaysian team is that they are only
good for regional tournaments. In view of the players' abilities, don't
dream of anything more.
Nonetheless, Dell said the team are not beyond salvation and they have
But, it will take time - at least another two years - to see results.
As to from where new talents are coming from is anybody's guess. The
present national team already have the best and FAM have scraped the
bottom of the barrel.
Several players from the national Youth World Cup squad look promising
but they need time to be groomed.
Dell said Malaysia will have to play a lot of exposure matches outside
this region and not be obssessed with winning.
"It's pointless to play teams from the South-East Asian region because
not really much separates us and there is nothing much we can learn," said
"We need to play against top teams like Saudi Arabia as they can expose
the many weaknesses in our side.
"It is only through defeats and mistakes that a player or team can
When are we going to shoot straight?

* Player of the Year: Zainal Abidin Hassan
* Striker of the Year: Azman Adnan
* Midfielder of the Year: K. Sanbagamaran
* Defender of the Year: B. Rajnikandh
* Goalkeeper of the Year: Khairul Azman Mohamed
* Most Valuable Foreign Player: Merzagua Abderazzak
* Most Promising Player of the Year: Che Zambil Ahmad
* Manager of the Year: Datuk Mohamed Aini Taib
* Coach of the Year: Ronald Smith
* Fan Club of the Year: Selangor
* Best Youth Performance: Selangor
* Referee of the Year: V.K.S. Sinniya
* National Soccer Leadership Award: Datuk Harun Idris
* Best Soccer Sportswriter: George Jeyaraj
* Best Soccer Sports Commentator: Amran Hamid
* National Soccer Team Award: 1974 Asian Games Squad.