Look before you leap
Losses in 'A' international matches will lower Malaysia’s ranking
Monday, July 29, 2013 - 15:12
PLAYING “A” international matches is a suicidal mission that will see Malaysia’s current FIFA ranking slide.
And it is truly amazing that national team manager Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal believes playing “A” international matches will help put Malaysia among the top 100 by 2016. And this has been endorsed by FA of Malaysia general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin who said the national team will play more international matches from 2014.
After some research, Mailsports believes this will only happen if Malaysia play countries that are ranked higher and win all the matches. Every loss will see Malaysia’s position drop.
If memory serves well, the FAM’s technical director Robert Alberts (now Sarawak coach) talked about a road map for Malaysian soccer when he came on board in 2005. He said Malaysia should play more international matches.
That we did, against teams like New Zealand, and lost. And by the time Alberts’ tenure ended in 2008, Malaysia’s ranking had dropped from 123 in 2005 to 156 in 2008.
Clearly, FAM are putting the cart before the horse. They need to take a hard look at the problem — the strength of the team.
The FAM cannot rectify Malaysian soccer woes by addressing the situation from the top, which has been attempted many times before and failed time and again.
The simple rule in is to lay strong foundation before putting up the pillars and the roof. Only then will the structure stand the test of time.
What Malaysia needs is a proper development plan under which players in schools and academies are given the right training before they move on to the clubs.
At present, most state FAs do not even organise their own leagues or if they did it, using carnival format.
Without a proper club system in place at state level, many school and academy players tend to disappear from the football scene.
Malaysian soccer needs a well planned, five-year development programme at the very least to address the current situation so that we have strong players coming through who have been exposed to quality training and matches.
The programme needs to be drawn up by the best brains in terms of technical personnel from within the country or overseas, and not any Ali, Muthu or Ah Chong.
The national youth and senior teams should be playing matches against Asean countries first and try to come out tops before moving on to Asian nations. And when Malaysia has established itself as a top Asian footballing nation, then maybe we can start playing the higher ranked countries.
Playing top clubs in Asia is an option to gain exposure and improve our standard as most of them are definitely stronger than our national team.
Take the national team’s 2-0 loss to the formidable Shimizu-Pluse from the J-League Division One. Critics may dismiss it as just a club team, but we have to accept the fact that many of the top clubs in Asia are much stronger than our national team.
In the final analysis, Malaysia should be playing more matches in Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Middle East and China if they want quality matches, and losing to these teams and clubs should be taken as a learning curve.
The idea is that we should learn to walk before we start running.