Friday, January 27, 2017



 NOMINATIONS for 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 inadequate management.
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 cabinet approval.
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 in 2015.
He is said to have gained permission from the cabinet for his foray into a national sports leadership role.
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 polls.
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.
He can be reached at


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