Friday, 29 June 2007

Taken from The Star
Disappointing Malaysia booed off the pitch

PETALING JAYA: The national football team lost 0-2 to Jamaica in a lethargic display that saw them booed off the pitch barely 10 days before the Asian Cup Finals.

The game at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday night was their final test match., The Jamaicans, on a team re-building process under former Chinese World Cup coach Bora Milutinuvic, began their tour of Asia losing to Indonesia (1-2) and Vietnam (0-3), but managed to get their act together against an erratic Malaysian side.

The disorganised Malaysians were booed off by 3, 000-odd fans after the final whistle, leaving a big question mark over their overall preparations before their opening game against China on July 10. National coach Norizan Bakar, however, put up a brave front at the post-match conference and claimed they were headed in the right direction. He said they would have time to work on their weaknesses before the Asian Cup.

Thursday, 28 June 2007


Come one, come all. This is your chance to see the Malaysian National Football Team play in its final friendly before the Asian Cup. Tonight, Malaysia will host Jamaica at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Kick-off is at 8.45pm. Tickets are priced at RM 5 for all seats.

For everyone's info, prior to this game, the Pasukan Kebangsaan have been playing their matches at Stadium MBPJ and the Shah Alam Stadium. The National Stadium in Bukit Jalil have been closed to protect the ever fragile turf in preparation for the Asian Cup Tournament. For this game, the management of the stadium have agreed to have the friendly there which is a positive step because it means the host will be able to adjust and adapt to the conditions of the field before the tournament begins proper.

Our opponent tonight is Jamaica, otherwise known as the Reggae Boyz. The team is struggling since the 1998 World Cup and is going through a rebuilding phase under experienced coach Bora Milutinovic. They haven't had a good tour of South-East Asia so far - losing 1-2 to Indonesia and 0 -3 to Vietnam despite being ranked higher in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking than the two hosts. This is a relatively young side, (the average age of the squad is 21) and none of their British based players are in the touring party.

This a chance to see how well Malaysia can play against another higher ranking team and judging from the visitor's performance in against their previous opponents, a win is possible for Malaysia.

Probable Malaysian Team Line-up

Akmal is definitely out of the team and there's no update that we can find out about Hardi's recovery from his injury (the main reason why he missed out the last friendly against UAE apparently). According to some reports, Hardi might even start on the left of the midfield.

It is very likely that Azizon Kadir will start in goal protected by the captain, Khaironnisam Sahabuddin Hussain and a choice of Aidil Zafuan Razak or Nazrulerwan Makmor partnering him in the middle. Completing the defence will be Fauzie Nan and Rosdi Talib.

If Norizan goes with a 4-2-3-1 formation, the same midfield than ran the engine room the last time out will return, the combination of Norhafiz Zamani Misbah and Shukor Adan in the middle while Hardi and Eddie Helmy will work on the wings.

What would be interesting is to see who will support Hairuddin Omar upfront. Both the Malay Mail and Utusan Malaysia are reporting that a surprise starter would be last season FAM Young Player of the Year, Nor Farhan Muhammad.

The 23 year old player from Terengganu came on as a substitute in the last two matches for Malaysia and was seen by observers playing in the same side as other first choice players during the training session in Shah Alam.

See you guys tonight!

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Great Last Words Indeed

BorakBola quote what Rizal Hashim of The Malay Mail wrote in his column on Tuesday, 26 June, as to what FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah said with regards to the fiasco involving national players (especially Akmal) being released to their respective state teams for the second-leg of the FA Cup semifinals:

The last word, however, belongs to FAM president, Sultan Ahmad Shah.

“If you ask me, the player should not have played in that match,” said Sultan Ahmad

Ampun Tuanku. Didn't your subordinates in FAM asked you? We trust your judgement so please, patik mohon the next time Tuanku, please tell these people how you feel. Because obviously the rest do not have or share your intelligence and all of this could've been avoided.


Ada Apa Dengan Nama?

For a while BorakBola have been thinking of a good name to give FAM but En Rizal has beaten us to it with a good one, Foolish Apathetic Maladroit. Nice. Unfortunately, we don't even think half of the people at FAM know what it means. ("sapa kata saya robot melayu malas?")

If we are a paranoid conspiracy theorist, we'd be thinking to ourselves, "are our opponents paying the FAM?". It seems that we don't need to play them at all because right before the tournament starts we can count on our own national association to destroy what little chance we have. How fair is that playing against 11 players AND your own national set-up?

And fancy this, our own countrymen tackled our top striker? By the way En Helmi Eliza Elias, we hope you visited Akmal and tell him you were sorry. Just kidding. Not.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Akmal's OK!

Well, the good news is in. Akmal did not suffer any serious injury and should be okay for the Asian Cup. Apparently Akmal's injury was a minor one ("a soft tissue injury"). Naturally Akmal must go for rehab training for around 10 days. Which means that Akmal will have to sit out the friendly against Jamaica tomorrow evening (28 June). X-rays showed no broken bones and the MRI confirmed that the injury is not as severe as everyone initially thought it was. God willing, this means if his rehab goes well, Akmal can be ready for our first game against China in the Asian Cup.

For that game, Cikgu Jan will have to look at the other central strikers in the team; Indra Putra, Hairuddin Omar and Safee Sali. Since the team was assembled for the Asian Cup, Safee Sali has not played before and Indra was left out in the recent game against UAE. Hairuddin scored in the game versus Cambodia but faded in and out when we played UAE. We wouldn't want to be Cikgu Jan right now. We think Indra will be given another run partnering Hairuddin upfront tomorrow. Oh, there's also Fadzli Shaari.

Meanwhile, the blame (and naturally, the denials) game has begun. Read Rizal Hashim's article in The Malay Mail HERE and HERE

So Selangor now says it was not their decision and they didn't ask for the players. At the same time, FAM vice-president and competitions committee chairman Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar said it was not his commitee's decision, but the 'council's'. If only we can pass the ball around on the field as good as we pass the buck around here.

This is what YB said, “It was agreed by the FAM Council early last year that players would be made available to the State teams or clubs should their services be required. This is clearly stipulated in the regulations,”

Okay, but wait, yesterday you also said, "Preparations for the Asian Cup takes precedence" (read my posting before this one below). Yo, which one is which? It would be more manly for FAM to just say, "yeah, we kinda screwed up, our mistake. But we are sorry and we will try to not do it again,". That way we as fans would've respected you and give you that other cookie of a chance. But man, being Malaysians we are too damn generous. Here, have another cookie, and stop being happy about the RM 12 million and start doing your jobs!

Monday, 25 June 2007

No! Cannot! Eh, okay. One time only. This time last. Next time cannot.

Eh? 'Kesedaran' on our part have we? Or was it from the greatest 'lesson' learned? (See "Akmal?") Too late, sir. If you'd stuck to your guns earlier you wouldn't have to repeat this oh-so familiar statement again.

Perlis, Kedah Have To Do FA Cup Battle Without National Players
SHAH ALAM, June 25 (Bernama) -- Perlis and Kedah will have to do FA Cup final battle on June 30 at the Batu Kawan Stadium in Prai without their national players.

The FA Malaysia (FAM) today decided that players called up for national duty for the upcoming Asian Cup will not be released for other competitions.

"Preparations for the Asian Cup takes precedence," FAM vice president Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainudin Raja Omar told a press conference here today. Raja Ahmad Zainuddin is also the chairman of the FAM's Competitions Committee.

Following the decision, Kedah will not have the services of three of their key players while Perlis two
Taken from The Star

Wonder if it would different if Selangor would've qualified. Note there was no remorse shown on what happened to Akmal. Of course lah. Never wrong what?

Akmal? Part 3

To Akmal,

Get well soon mate.

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Men In Black

Meanwhile, AFC has released the list of referees and assistant referees (or linesmen, to people from my generation, ehem). Sixteen referees will officiate in the competition with the help of twenty-four assistant referees. Out of these, one referee and two assistant referees are from CAF (Confederation Africaine De Football).

Looking at the list of referees, there is NONE from Malaysia. There's one from Singapore (Shamsul Maidin - who also officiated in Germany 2006) and one from Thailand. Then again, there's none from Indonesia as well (or Wasit, as they call it there).

Aiyo. AFC. You are trying to say my country's refs not good enough ah? You want to stay long at Bukit Jalil or not? There are at least SIX referees from the FIFA list from Malaysia, not even one managed to get in the list? According to AFC Director of Referees Yoshimi Ogawa, "All the referees who have been selected have proved their refereeing skills in the past and under intense pressure. Moreover, they need to clear a fitness test for final confirmation to officiate in the competition." We surely hope our referees were just too busy for it.

On a positive note, Malaysian FIFA-recognised Assistant Referee, Mohd Sabri Mat Daud is selected as part of the Assistant Referee list. He has been involved in international matches since 2006. One of his most recent AFC outing was in Sydney in the AFC Champions League match between Sydney FC and Urawa Reds last March.

So How Does Our Second Quarter Performance Looks Like?

We'll give you 15 seconds to guess what company is this performance graph associated with?

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Hehehe. Eleh, you guys know because you have been following this blog. (Thank you very much if you have, by the way!)

Well, anyway, our point is that imagine if this is some big corporate company or organisation' sales achievement or revenue performance or market standing. Imagine if this was your company and you are presenting this graph to your boss. We think, in the real world, where accountability is well.. accounted for - this company would've been in the red, go banckrupt, folded, gulung tikar or the shareholders and the board would've fire someone's ass and wipe out a the whole department responsible for such a performance. Someone would then call for general auditing and maybe the ACA would move in.

But no surprises here. This is the ranking of the Malaysian National Football Team. This is how we have been since 1993. If we were talking about real business, about losses and earnings, about money, we'd be talking about some serious excrement here.

But hey, this is Malaysia. No one in FAM has seriously have their position threatened. Some have even been promoted from where they were since 1993. Promotion while your organisations performance is like this! The National Team has been disbanded before. Players have been blamed. Coaches have been replaced. And yet FAM is still the same.

And the best thing, you get another RM 12 million in funding to basically repeat the same performance that you have been 'achieveing for the last 15 years. A bonus! If this was a real company, this is really a generous one. How much have we spent in 'developing' football in the country?

What would YOU do if you were a shareholder of this company?


We want to state here once and for all that whenever we are criticising the FAM, we are NOT, we repeat, NOT criticising the players. If we want to criticise the players, we'll do it and say the names here there and then. So if you are a member of the Pasukan Kebangsaan reading this, don't feel offended when we blast the FAM.

If BorakBola, however, blasting you because of your PERFORMANCE, know that:
a) Its nothing personal
b) It's because as fans, we care. And as long as we care, we will tell how we honestly feel. It's when we stop caring is when you should worry.

And take our opinions with an open heart, open head and use it positively. So that you can become a better player, make us proud, make the Pasukan Kebangsaan stronger and make you proud. We don't get paid being your fans. But we will always be here supporting you. That is what being a fan is all about (trust us, this year our favourite team FC Barcelona and Selangor FC are not doing too well - but you'll never walk alone!)

Don't give up. Try your best and we will always put our hopes on you.

Malaysia Boleh!!!

Update on Akmal

Well, the brilliant minds at FAM have done it again. Because of their indecisions, leniency, poor planning and overall generally incompetency, Malaysia has lost Akmal Rizal, one of our best strikers in the country, to injury. He sustained this during a collision with the Kedah goalkeeper in Selangor's second-leg FA Cup match. I wonder if we are the only footballing nation in the world that would lose our top player, because our nation's football governing body decides to release the player, who was in centralised training, to his club barely 2 weeks before the biggest competition in the continent!

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Oh wait, allow me to rephrase that, not stupid...but NOT clever.

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Of course, this is football. Akmal could've been injured during training. He could've been injured walking up the stairs to his room. Only God knows. Of course, there was no way that FAM could have anticipated this. But this was preventable. It was a risky feat. It could've been avoided. Who's bigger, club or country? FAM or State FAs? Even if the State FAs complaint, why can't FAM draw the line? Why is FAM so worried to be seen as 'the good guy' and appeasing everyone except the fans? As usual, will FAM admit fault? I doubt it very much. (and I'll tell you why in another post)

Anyway, here's the update on Akmal. We at Borakbola hope and pray that his injury is not too serious and that after this period of rest he will be able to rejoin the national team. We need you Akmal to tear holes in the oppositions' nets man!

Akmal blow for Malaysia
THE National team suffered a massive blow to their Asian Cup hopes when striker Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli suffered a severe injury while playing for Selangor in their FA Cup semi-final second leg match against Kedah at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.

The match ended 1-1 on the night for Kedah to advance to Saturday’s final with Perlis on a 3-1 aggregate. Perlis, who beat Johor Pasir Gudang 1-0 on Saturday for a 2-2 aggregate, advance on the away goals rule.

Akmal, who suffered the injury in a clash with Kedah keeper Mohd Helmi Eliza Elias, was taken to the Kelana Jaya Medical Centre by FA of Selangor officials after the match.

When met at the dressing room, Akmal, whose leg was strapped with ice while waiting for the ambulance, said: "It’s very painful, it was a very hard knock. The (Kedah) keeper raised his leg despite catching the ball.

"I think it (the injury) will take at least four to five days to heal." Akmal is scheduled to undergo a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan today.

"I hope that with treatment I will be able to continue to play for the national team (in the Asian Cup)," added Akmal.

But for sure, the Selangor striker will have to miss the third warm up match against Jamaica at the Bukit Jalil Stadium on Thursday.

"I am truly sad and disappointed that Akmal has injured himself. We will wait for the results of the scan to see how bad it is," said Selangor coach Dollah Salleh.

Kedah coach Azraai Khor said that this is a risk a player and the national coach takes when it comes to football.

"I can’t say much. All I can say that it’s football and that’s the risk we take.

"Kedah had not requested for (national) players to be released. It was FAM’s decision," said Azraai.

FAM vice-president, Datuk Raja Ahmad Raja Zainuddin, had granted permission for some of the National players who are in training for the Asian Cup, to be released to play for their respective States in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final.

National coach Norizan Bakar found it hard to hide his disappointment.

"It’s always a big risk to allow national players to play for their clubs or States when they are on national assignment.

"Now we to have to wait and see how Akmal responds to treatment," said Norizan yesterday.

This disappointing episode, one hopes, will be a lesson to the FAM and its officials not to release national players for any other assignment when preparing to represent the country in a major tournament — in this case the Asian Cup.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

More Results from Around The Region

Threes matches were played yesterday:

Saudi Arabia defeated UAE 2-0 in a match played in Singapore, while in Indonesia, the host lost 0-1 to Oman. Oman hit the woodwork once, had a goal disallowed while Bambang missed a penalty for the Indons. I have not found the results for Vietnam v Jamaica.

Meanwhile, it's less than 2 weeks away to the Asian Cup tournament (about 12 more days to be exact). Have you bought your tickets?

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If you haven't, do go and check out the nearest TM Point, Wisma FAM and your state FAs. You can also purchase it online. Check out or

Aku Janji (Or Do I, Really?)

Those of you who can't read Bahasa Malaysia, we won't really apologise for including articles from the local daily, Utusan Malaysia. Maybe we'll do more translating once we enrol in the Pusat Terjemahan Negara. But really, it's because when it comes to matters of national football, it's only Utusan Malaysia that's really putting an effort and they are usually the first to report. As much as we don't really care to read the other section of Utusan, try and visit their website and look out for some interesting articles.

BorakBola thinks Malay Mail does some good write-ups and articles too. But NST and The Star? You guys really have to pull up your socks lah and try and contribute. Don't throw news about the Pasukan Kebangsaan 2 or 3 page in a small corner of the sports section next to the 4D results. So until we get some nice and juicy reports from our local English dailies, you readers out there would have to put up with this, or write to NST and The Star to complaint, or take up Bahasa. Ha Ha.

Anyway, here's what FAM had to say, all gushed up and touched after received the money from the government. Where have we heard this all before eh?

FAM janji guna RM12.3 juta pulihkan imej

KUALA LUMPUR – Terharu dengan peruntukan besar yang diberikan oleh Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN), Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) berjanji akan meningkatkan tahap bola sepak negara dari segala aspek. Selain bakal melaksanakan program pembangunan yang lebih teratur, badan bola sepak kebangsaan itu juga memandang serius usaha memperbaiki ranking dunia.

Semalam FAM menjadi persatuan sukan pertama menerima bantuan MSN tahun ini dengan peruntukan RM12.317 juta - jumlah tertinggi pernah diterima dalam sejarah. Menteri Belia dan Sukan, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said berkata, bantuan tersebut hanya fasa pertama iaitu bagi melaksanakan program 2007, bermakna ada tambahan peruntukan bakal dinikmati oleh FAM.

Mengapa bola sepak mendapat keistimewaan dipilih menerima peruntukan, alasan Azalina cukup mudah kerana ia sukan paling popular di negara ini dan antara lapan sukan teras. Malah beliau yakin FAM mempunyai banyak program dalam perancangan dan ia akan dapat dilaksanakan dengan lebih efektif dengan adanya bantuan dari kerajaan.

“Bola sepak adalah sukan paling popular di negara kita, dan apabila perjanjian ditandatangani secara tidak langsung FAM dan MSN dapat bekerjasama dalam keadaan lebih erat. “Dengan adanya perjanjian, kita berharap semua persatuan akan menepati apa yang dijanjikan. FAM bukan satu-satunya persatuan yang menerima peruntukan, ia akan disusuli oleh persatuan lain,’’ kata Azalina selepas majlis memeterai Memorandum Persefahaman (MoU) di Bukit Jalil, semalam.

MSN diwakili Ketua Pengarahnya, Datuk Zolkples Embong manakala FAM diwakili Setiausaha Agung FAM, Datuk Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad. Sementara itu, Dr. Ibrahim Saad memberi jaminan bahawa peruntukan besar tersebut akan diguna sepenuhnya bagi meningkatkan mutu bola sepak negara.

Dalam ranking terbaru Persekutuan Bola Sepak Antarabangsa (FIFA), Malaysia berada pada kedudukan kelima di kalangan negara Asia Tenggara iaitu di tangga ke-149. Thailand menerajui kedudukan negara Asia Tenggara dengan berada di tangga ke-122, diikuti Singapura (131), Vietnam (142) dan Indonesia (143).

“Peruntukan ini membuatkan saya rasa amat terharu. FAM tidak pernah menerima bantuan sebanyak ini,’’ kata Dr. Ibrahim. Menurut Dr. Ibrahim lagi, peruntukan sebanyak RM12.317 juta itu akan diagih kepada tujuh program utama.

Sebanyak RM6.266 juta akan digunakan untuk pembangunan sukan teras, RM521,500 pula bagi program pelapis, iaitu skuad bawah 20 tahun, yang akan bertanding pada kejohanan Piala Juara-Juara Belia (CYC). Akademi bola sepak negeri-negeri yang melahirkan ramai pemain bola sepak terbaik menerima peruntukan sebanyak RM3 juta.

Program elit pula dibahagikan kepada persiapan menghadapi Piala Asia - RM300,000 dan persiapan Sukan SEA, RM600,000. Pembangunan bola sepak wanita juga tidak diketepikan FAM apabila sebanyak RM280,000 diperuntukan kepada mereka.

Program latihan prestasi tinggi Malaysia di Brickedonbury, England juga berada dalam bajet FAM dengan RM750,000 diperuntukan.
Taken from Utusan Malaysia

Mo' Money Mo' Money Part 2

It seems that the issue of FAM recently receiving further funding from the National Sports Council or MSN have not gone unnoticed. In the last few days we have came across many interesting letters from fans to the media and articles by sportswriter as well. Below we are pasting the responses received taken from various medias:

A letter from a reader, published in Utusan Malaysia, 21 June

FAM terus dimanjakan
MINGGU lepas Kementerian Belia dan Sukan serta Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN) menjelaskan akan memperkenalkan sistem rating ataupun merit dalam memberi peruntukan kepada persatuan sukan. Persatuan sukan paling berjaya akan menerima peruntukan terbanyak, manakala persatuan sukan yang gagal menyerlah kemungkinan besar tidak akan menerima sebarang peruntukan.

Saya amat menyokong sistem tersebut kerana sebelum ini peruntukan diberi kepada semua persatuan sukan tetapi ada beberapa persatuan sukan yang gagal menyerlah. Terdapat desas-desus mengatakan persatuan sukan tersebut menggunakan sebahagian peruntukan untuk kepentingan peribadi seperti melancong dan untuk kemewahan.

Dan kelmarin diumumkan pula Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) akan menerima peruntukan RM12.3 juta iaitu yang tertinggi dalam sejarah. Ini hanyalah fasa pertama untuk tahun ini dan mereka bakal terima lebih lagi. Tetapi semua orang tahu FAM adalah antara persatuan sukan yang gagal menyerlah malah semakin buruk prestasi.

Kalau diikutkan sistem rating sepatutnya FAM dikurangkan peruntukan dan bukannya ditambah, seolah-olah FAM yang paling berjaya. Alasan MSN bola sepak merupakan sukan paling popular tidak boleh dijadikan ukuran. Fikirkanlah sudah hampir 20 tahun FAM mendapat peruntukan besar daripada MSN tetapi semakin malap bola sepak negara.

Ini sudah jelas menunjukkan FAM gagal menggunakan peruntukan besar sejak berbelas tahun untuk meningkatkan mutu bola sepak negara. Penonton yang datang ke stadium juga semakin berkurangan dan jelas sukan bola sepak semakin tidak popular di Malaysia. Peruntukan besar tersebut lebih berfaedah digunakan untuk membasmi kemiskinan dalam negara ataupun untuk pembangunan rakyat dan bukannya terus memperjudikan kepada FAM yang telah terbukti satu pelaburan merugikan negara.

Somebody then wrote in to reply to Pemerhati's Bola Sepak's letter:

A letter from a reader, published in Utusan Malaysia, 22 June

Beri peluang FAM pulih imej bola sepak negara
SAYA tidak bersetuju dengan pandangan pemerhati bola sepak negara seperti yang disiarkan dalam ruangan Forum, Utusan Malaysia semalam.

Kenapa kerajaan dibidas apabila memberi bantuan untuk menaikkan taraf dan populariti bola sepak negara? Soal menyalurkan bajet untuk membanteras kemiskinan perlu diasingkan daripada usaha penyelesaian masalah bola sepak negara kerana ia perlu dilihat sebagai dua perkara berbeza. Bukankah ada kementerian yang ditugaskan untuk melihat permasalahan itu dan sejumlah besar telah pun dibelanjakan bagi penyelesaiannya? Jangan dipersoalkan usaha kerajaan untuk mengembalikan kemegahan bola sepak negara.

Bolehkan kita mempersoalkan perbelanjaan untuk menghantar astronaut negara ke angkasa lepas dengan usaha mengawal dan membasmi nyamuk? Itu ternyata dua perkara berbeza dan saya percaya kerajaan bijak berbelanja dalam apa jua isu berkepentingan negara. Jelas seperti yang dikatakan bahawa penonton semakin berkurang berkunjung ke stadium tetapi ini bukan merupakan indikator untuk mengukur populariti bola sepak sebagai sukan nombor satu rakyat Malaysia.

Minat terhadap bola sepak tidak pernah luntur sebaliknya terus meningkat walaupun kecenderungannya kepada bola sepak luar negara. Kesedaran di atas fakta inilah yang mendorong kerajaan untuk terus menyalurkan bantuan bagi membantu Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) untuk memajukan sukan ini agar ia dapat memaut kembali hati peminat bola sepak tanah air yang dahagakan kegemilangan bola sepak tempatan. Sebagai peminat atau pemerhati bola sepak kita perlulah mempunyai sikap positif di atas perkembangan ini. Kepercayaan yang diberikan menunjukkan bahawa kerajaan tampak yakin dengan hala tuju dan kepimpinan FAM yang ada sekarang.

Jumlah bantuan kewangan yang besar ini mampu memberi impak ke atas pembangunan bola sepak tanah air selepas kehilangan tajaan-tajaan besar kerana dasar yang perlu dipatuhi oleh FAM. Umpama ‘orang mengantuk disorongkan bantal’ FAM akan mampu untuk melaksanakan agenda besar bagi meningkatkan mutu bola sepak negara dan sekali gus menarik minat penonton untuk ke stadium. Pemulihan bola sepak negara perlukan sokongan. Semangat ini perlu ada bagi semua yang mahu melihat kemajuan bola sepak negara. Sebagai permulaan, saya menyeru agar penonton dapat bersama-sama pasukan kebangsaan dan menunjukkan sokongan padu setiap kali mereka beraksi agar semangat mereka dapat dipulihkan.

Usaha secara kolektif persatuan, individu dan semua yang terlibat pasti membuahkan hasil. Perkara terakhir yang kita perlukan adalah bidasan negatif seperti yang disuarakan daripada ‘pemerhati bola sepak’.

Wisely, journalists went and asked our Minister about the comments on the streets regarding the funding:

Taken from Utusan Malaysia, 22 June

Beri peluang FAM baiki keadaan
KOTA BHARU – Kementerian Belia dan Sukan berharap peminat-peminat tempatan memberi peluang kepada Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) untuk meningkatkan mutu sukan nombor satu negara itu.

Menterinya, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said berkata, FAM menghadapi pelbagai masalah seperti sumber kewangan yang terhad untuk membangunkan bola sepak tanah air.

Katanya, dengan bantuan kewangan yang diberikan Majlis Sukan Negara (MSN), FAM boleh mengatur lebih banyak program bagi memastikan sukan paling popular negara ini meningkat.

‘‘Macam mana kalau anak awak hisap dadah, adakah awak nak tinggalkan dia begitu sahaja, awak perlu membantunya untuk pulih.

“Tugas kerajaan adalah untuk membangunkan sukan dalam negara dan saya rasa FAM akan lebih baik selepas ini.

‘‘FAM telah hilang sumber kewangan apabila kerajaan tidak membenarkan syarikat rokok menaja aktiviti sukan negara ini, untuk dapatkan tajaan sekarang amat susah walaupun kerajaan memberikan potongan cukai sebanyak tujuh peratus,” katanya kepada para pemberita selepas melancarkan Karnival Sukan Warga Pendidik Parlimen Kota Bharu di sini, semalam.

Beliau diminta mengulas mengenai surat pembaca yang disiarkan Utusan Malaysia kelmarin yang menyatakan FAM terus dimanjakan dengan pemberian peruntukan sebanyak RM12 juta oleh MSN walaupun tidak menunjukkan prestasi yang memberangsangkan.

Menurut Azalina, alasan MSN bola sepak merupakan sukan paling popular tidak boleh dijadikan ukuran kerana sudah hampir 20 tahun FAM mendapat peruntukan besar daripada MSN tetapi semakin malap bola sepak negara.

Ini, katanya, sudah jelas menunjukkan FAM gagal menggunakan peruntukan besar sejak berbelas tahun untuk meningkatkan mutu bola sepak negara.

Azalina berkata, peruntukan tersebut tidak disalurkan serentak kepada FAM tetapi ia akan diberikan secara berperingkat selepas mereka membuat program.

‘‘Beza sekarang adalah duit itu kita pegang dan kedua kita wujudkan perjanjian ada beberapa peraturan yang diperlu dipatuhi.

‘‘Kita tidak mahu ia membazir begitu sahaja, kita akan memantau penggunaan peruntukan ini bagi memastikan ia benar-benar digunakan untuk pembangunan bola sepak tanah air,” katanya.

Mo' Money Mo' Money

Reporters from The Star and NST had this to say about the money:

Read about it HERE from NST and HERE from The Star.

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Saturday, 23 June 2007

Interview with Cikgu Jan

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The Man with the Plan

Here we reproduce in verbatim, the translation from Bahasa Malaysia, the interview between Abdul Hafiz Ahmad (AA) from Mingguan Malaysian and the Malaysian National Football coach, Norizan Bakar (NB). Taken from Mingguan Malaysia:

AA: Why is Indra Putra Mahyuddin still called up even though he's only recently returning to real action and was shown to be ineffective even though against a team such as Cambodia?

NB: Each player in the Asian Cup squad are the best in Malaysia. I have confidence in them. I selected them after consulting with others, and judged them from their performances in the M League, in the friendlies we had in Sri Lanka and Australia earlier this year and in the AFF and Merdeka tournaments.

AA: The first game will be a huge challenge - facing the 2004 Asian Cup runners-up, China. What is the team's target and what do you hope the team will achieve?

NB: The last time we played against them was in 2004 in Penang (World Cup Qualifiers) and we only loss narrowly 0-1, so it shows our playing level with the opponent is not much different.

AA: The last time we qualified by merit was in 1980 in Kuwait. Would it be a great achievement and will it be your target to obtain more or less, the same result (only one point away from the semis)?

NB: I don't know because I was not involved with the national team at that time but to me, what is in the past let it be in the past (as history). This Asian Cup however is a big chance that we must seize because we have already qualified as one of the hosts. I consider this a mini World Cup. We will not look back again (after this).

AA: Malaysia lost 1 - 3 to UAE in the recent friendly last Thursday even though the visitors were not playing at their best. Your comment?

NB: We played against another team that will compete in the same Asian Cup tournament and I feel that this is the quality that we will face and it was good for us to experience it prior to the real thing. What was positive is that we learned to not lose focus and concentration even for a second or we will pay for it (like letting in 3 easy goals)

AA: Are you still experimenting with the squad or has the best first eleven been chosen after defeating Cambodia?

NB: We will try our best to find the combination we want but without any major changes. We getting there (building the team). There is still time before meeting Jamaica this (Thursday). The FA Cup is still not finished (with 12 national players playing for their respective states). Anything can happen in training after this. But whoever is representing the team, (I believe) they are the best for the match and based on any current conditions.

Big Business - UPDATE

There have been some changes of which team wears what:

Here's quick look of the 2007 Asian Cup kitmakers line-up:


Korea Republic

Saudi Arabia



Qatar - Unknown
Vietnam - Unknown - Kronos?

The biggest surprise is Thailand going to Nike over FBT. Must be some deal for the team to forgo a long relationship with their locally made FBT kit.

Big Business

It goes without saying (but I'll say it here anyway), that it's big business in football, especially in terms of advertising and sponsorship. Recently we've read about FIFA having to pay Mastercard millions of dollars for misleading the card company into being the official credit card for the upcoming World Cups - with Visa being the clear winner by getting the rights instead. An observer once remarked in a BBC Hard Talk session a few months ago that one of the main reason why football is not so successful in America (or Soccer, as the bloody Yanks call it) is due to limited advertising time and opportunities it has - compared to NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA where there are 4 quarters, 9 innings, 3 periods and many time-outs and breaks for advertisers to capitalise - as opposed to the game of two 45 halves that football has.

The 2007 AFC Asian Cup itself has a total 9 Official Sponsors, and 6 Official Partners (less money these six companies) not including a variety of other sponsors and advertisers when we go to the national teams and the players. Malaysia already have Samsung and Proton on board, not forgetting Nike of course.

Nike, as I've mentioned before, is going big here. For example, for the first time in any Asian football competitions, Nike has launched the Nike Mercurial Veloci AC, a ball made specifically for the competition. According to the official press release, the ball features four predominantly blue (with gold accents) graduated stripes with each host city's name inscribed, the AFC Asian Cup logo comprised of red (Vietnam), green (Indonesia), blue (Thailand) and yellow (Malaysia) color designations in the shape of a football, and a Nike swoosh.

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But what has always interest me (and I know a few of your hardcore fans out there too) is the subtle (okay, perhaps not so subtle) 'war' between the kitmakers - Adidas, Puma and Nike. Within the spirit of the competition between the teams, there is also the underlying battle between the sponsors. In the recent World Cup the German sportmaker Puma, for a long time was outshined by Nike and Adidas, staged the best guerilla attack, fitting out nearly half the teams in the tournament (dominating nearly all the African and South American teams) in similar designed Puma kits, and having the champion Italy shooting up the Puma azzuri shirts sales worldwide.

Last year, it was Nike dominating the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Arsenal. This year, it was an all Adidas final between AC Milan and Liverpool. Nike took the reigns in England while Adidas made a comeback in Spain. In the Gold Cup Final tomorrow it will be an Adidas (Mexico - prior to this wearing the swoosh) v Nike (USA) final.

Here's quick look of the 2007 Asian Cup kitmakers line-up:


Korea Republic

Saudi Arabia
Bahrain (wore Diadora before but could be Puma for this tournament)


Iraq (Jack Jones or Diadora?) - I need to confirm this. Iraqi footie fans out there?
Oman (Lotto) - Also needs confirmation

Whoever wins the tournament, the kitmaker will win too.

Whatever it is, hats off to the Thais who have always been loyal to their own local brand, FBT (which, I only found out, stands for FootBall Thailand - but I know they also make those killer Tomoi/Muay Thai shorts).

NB: Just a note that FBT has even secured the rights to kit out the whole of Malaysia SEA Games contigent for the upcoming SEA Games in Korat, Thailand, later this year.

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Killer Tomoi Pants (NOT what the Thai football team wears at the Asian Cup)

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Members of the Thai under 15 team after a 'friendly' with a visiting Farang team

Results From Other Asian Cup Teams

These are the recent results (based on all the friendlies and matches from early June) for the other teams participating in the upcoming Asian Cup categorised by the groups they will be in:

Australia 1 - 2 Uruguay (2 June)

Thailand 1 - 3 Netherlands (6 June)
Borussia Fulda (Germany) 1 - 2 Thailand (20 June)

Jordan 1 - 1 Iraq (8 June)
Jordan 0 - 0 Iraq (12 June)
Iran Team B 0 - 0 Iraq (16 June)
Iraq 1 - 0 Palestine (18 June)
Syria 0 - 3 Iraq (22 June)

No matches since January

Japan 2 - 0 Montenegro (1 June)
Japan 0 - 0 Colombia (5 June)

No matches since January

Kufstein Austria 1 - 1 Qatar (14 June)
Ghana 0 - 3 Qatar (19 June)

Malaysia 1 - 3 UAE (21 June)

USA 4 - 1 China (2 June)
Real Salt Lake 1 - 0 China (7 June)
Colorado Rapids 1 - 2 China (10 June)

Mexico 4 - 0 Iran (2 June)
Iran Team B 0 - 0 Iraq (16 June)
Iran 2 - 0 Palestine (20 June)
Jordan 0 - 2 Iran (22 June)

Malaysia 6 - 0 Cambodia (18 June)
Malaysia 1 - 3 UAE (21 June)

No matches since March

No matches since January

Indonesia 3 - 0 Hong Kong (1 June)
Indonesia 0 - 1 Singapore U23 (3 June)
Indonesia 2 - 1 Jamaica (21 June)

Korea Republic
Korea 0 - 2 Netherlands (2 June)

Saudi Arabia
Kosovo 1 - 0 Saudi Arabia (15 June)
NK Zagreb Croatia 2 - 4 Saudi Arabia (16 June)

Results & Info collated from and

Must Be An Asian Thing

Don't say BorakBola is unfair. It seems that FAM can pull it's Get Out Of Jail Card for their local fixtures. Its mentioned before that the coach of Japan, Osim-san have also been complaining about JFA's cleverness in arranging their own domestic league fixtures - the J League. Well apparently it is the same with the K-League. Nice. So we are emulating these Asian giants after all!

Let's see what's the news with relations to these two countries:

Coach Verbeek and K-League reach training camp compromise
SEOUL: South Korea’s warring soccer factions have called a truce over an Asian Cup training camp that clashed with domestic fixtures. National coach Pim Verbeek and the K-League jousted after the Dutchman summoned his squad to the southern resort island of Jeju this weekend to prepare for next month’s Asian Cup Finals.

Both sides refused to compromise as the row escalated during the week, but the K-League have backed down and agreed to reschedule today’s fixtures to Oct 14. “Our players will comply ... in consideration of the national team’s need to prepare for the Asian Cup and with the hope it will make a sweeping victory,” the K-League said in a statement yesterday.

Fans would be deprived of high-quality games if the fixtures went ahead without the participation of the national team players, the statement added. With South Korea’s preparations for the tournament in tatters due to injuries to four key players, it was always unlikely Verbeek would bow to the K-League’s demands for the camp to start a day later.

The Dutchman has been highly critical of the K-League for the number of games players have had to cope with in recent months. However, Verbeek went some way to mending fences by cancelling a national team friendly scheduled for Oct 13, the day before the rescheduled K-League fixtures.

South Korea have been grouped with Indonesia, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia for the July 7-29 tournament.
Taken from Reuters

Japan’s Asian Cup preparations a joke, says coach Osim
TOKYO: Japan’s preparations for the defence of their Asian Cup title were labelled a joke by coach Ivica Osim on Thursday.

The Bosnian, upset that most of his players have club commitments before Japan’s opener on July 9, blasted the J-League schedule in an attack dripping with sarcasm. “Most of our Asian Cup rivals have been together for around 20 days already,” Osim told reporters. “We’ll be going to Vietnam with next to no preparation and with a squad of tired players. It’s a novel approach.”

The 66-year-old added: “It’s brilliant! As a bonus we can even save the Japan Football Association some money by keeping our training camps so short.” Japan will hold a three-day training camp before flying to Vietnam on July 4 for their opening Group B game against Qatar in Hanoi. The United Arab Emirates and co-hosts Vietnam are also in the same group as the defending champions.
Taken from Reuters

Don't worry Osim-san. We are having the same problem here - but our players won't be tired because we take Tongkat Ali for breakfast

Do You Know How The Asian Cup Looks Like?

Here you go. This is what we hope someday some Malaysian players will able to get their hands on it and lift it high in the sky. In meantime before then, 16 teams will kick each others' asses in four countries in South East Asia for a chance to lay their lips on this inanimate object.

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The Asian Cup - Can be made at the shop in Pertama within 2 weeks


Latest news BorakBola read was that Akmal was involved in a collision on the field with Kedah's goalkeeper in the FA Cup semi-final second leg tonite. He was stretched out of the field in the 44th minute. We pray that it's not a serious injury. Because if it is, it just draws the line beneath what we've been saying about how stupid the top people at FAM are. (Hey, if a Minister in the Parliament can say it again and again, why can we? But let's not politicise this blog shall we?)

We'll say this again. You have the Asian Cup in less than two weeks, and you still have your players playing for the league teams when they should be concentrating in preparation for the tournament. Why? Why? Why?

What's even more annoying is when King Yob our Mr VP of FAM said that by allowing these players playing for their respective teams they will experience the feeling and fitness of 'real matches'. Come on lah! Stop deflecting what is clearly bad organisation on you and your team's part.

Read Abdul Hafiz Ahmad good article in Utusan Malaysia, 23 March 2007 (sorry it's in Bahasa Malaysia):

Wajarkah pemain negara ke Piala FA?
KUALA LUMPUR – Terlalu jauh untuk menyamakan taraf kejurulatihan Norizan Bakar dengan Pim Verbeek dari Korea Selatan tetapi mereka berkongsi satu situasi tersepit yang akhirnya dipisahkan oleh ketegasan badan induk bola sepak negara masing-masing.

Riak wajah Norizan Bakar selepas perlawanan persahabatan dengan Emiriah Arab Bersatu (UAE) kelmarin, cukup menggambarkan betapa jurulatih Malaysia itu dibelenggu dilema antara perlu menjalankan tugas negara atau demi menjaga hati majikannya, Persatuan Bola Sepak Malaysia (FAM) dan negeri.

‘‘Tiada komen,” kata Norizan ringkas ketika ditanya sama ada beliau secara sukarela melepaskan 12 anak buahnya semula ke pangkuan Selangor, Kedah, Perlis dan Johor-Pasir Gudang bagi menghadapi separuh akhir Piala FA, hari ini sedangkan Piala Asia cuma berbaki dua minggu.

Mereka ialah Akmal Rizal Rakhli, Fadzli Shaari, Shukor Adan, Safee Sali, Syed Adney Syed Hussein, Amirulhadi Zainal (Selangor), V. Thirumurugan, Ahmad Fauzi Shaari, Khyril Muhymeen Zambri (Kedah), Fauzie Nan, Azi Shahril Azmi (Perlis) dan Hamzani Omar (Johor-Pasir Gudang).

Kelmarin, FAM yang sepatutnya seperti ‘bapa yang tegas’ boleh mengalah kepada tuntutan negeri berkenaan untuk menggunakan semula khidmat tonggak negara termasuk tujuh yang dalam senarai simpanan sedangkan sebelum ini ia melarangnya kerana bimbangkan risiko kecederaan.

Di Seoul menurut laporan agensi asing, Verbeek yang berbangsa Belanda memenangi kemelut perebutan pemain kebangsaannya dengan kelab Liga Korea Selatan malah mendapat sokongan padu Persatuan Bola Sepak Korea (KFA) yang tampak lebih pintar mengenali yang mana kaca dan permata.

Secara berdiplomasi, Norizan cuma mampu berpesan: ‘‘ Harapan saya ialah mereka tidak tercedera biarpun bermain dua perlawanan sebenar dalam tempoh tiga hari (termasuk separuh akhir Piala FA).”

Kelmarin, anak buahnya tewas 1-3 kepada UAE di Petaling Jaya dalam perlawanan persahabatan menjelang pusingan akhir Piala Asia di Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand dan Vietnam, bulan depan dengan gol tunggal dijaringkan oleh Akmal Rizal.

‘‘Dari segi permainan, kita mampu setara dengan lawan malah dalam masa tertentu, kami juga menyerang, mencipta peluang dan dapat menjaringkan gol,” katanya merujuk kepada jaringan sulung antarabangsa Akmal Rizal sejak 2004.

Sementara itu, Naib Presiden FAM, Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar yang melihat dari sudut lain menganggap, pelepasan pemain negara bagi menghadapi Piala FA sekurang-kurangnya meneruskan mereka merasai suasana dan mengekalkan tahap kecergasan dalam perlawanan sebenar.

‘‘Kami lepaskan mereka kerana separuh akhir FA ialah penentuan penting pasukan terbabit. Nanti ada yang merungut dan salahkan FAM pula apabila mereka kalah. Malah kadangkala pemain yang tidak bermain pun, boleh tercedera sebab ia macam nasib,” katanya.

Namun, tegas Raja Ahmad, FAM mungkin tidak mempertimbangkan lagi pelepasan pemain negara bagi perlawanan akhir Piala FA, 30 Jun ini sekiranya ada di antara mereka yang tercedera dalam pertembungan di Stadium Shah Alam dan Stadium Utama Negeri, Kangar itu, malam ini

Friday, 22 June 2007

Know the Pasukan Kebangsaan

For those outside the country or inside the country but in a hole, this is how the Pasukan Kebangsaan's new kit looks like. Malaysia have always been kitted out in yellow and black as the Home colours, and blue and white as the away colours.

There was a buzz of excitement when Nike, the sport giants that kit out teams such as Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona and national teams such as Brazil and Holland decided to dress up the Pasukan Kebangsaan in a four-year deal. Nike will provide the main attire for all national teams and also contribute to youth development programs. The contract has an option for renewal for another five years. The shirt, which was designed similar to the jersey worn by the Harimau Malaysia of the 1980's was first worn by the senior side in the last ASEAN Football Federation Championship. Previously the Pasukan Kebangsaan was sponsored by Adidas.

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The Adidas-kitted Zainal Abidin and Co. Skimpy shorts preferred

Nike has gone aggressive in the region by also sponsoring the Timnas of Indonesia and the Singaporean National Team.

Not surprisingly, the players version was retailed at RM259, the same price as other Nike jerseys. It turned many fans off but that still didn't dampen the sale of the first batch of the jerseys which are now sold out. Nike then released a fans' version at RM 129 and has also recently launched a third version for fans at RM69. Don't worry, you can also find numerous pirated versions (and even for kids) a most places which starts from RM20.

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Home Jersey

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Away Jersey

And these are how the team looks like:

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Bring On Da Reggae Boyz!

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Courtesy of Mr Hakim esq, nice job there bro'!

The Jamaican National Football team are on a South East Asian tour. They had their first game yesterday in a friendly against the ''Timnas' of Indonesia where they lost 1-2 to the host. This Sunday (24 June) they will be in Hanoi for a friendly against Vietnam before visiting Kuala Lumpur for a friendly against the Pasukan Kebangsaan. They are ranked #68 in the world.

Things are heating up with a flurry of friendly matches lined up between teams in the region. To see the schedule prepared by, click here

Thursday, 21 June 2007

MATCH REPORT: Malaysia v UAE (Friendly) 21 June

Match Report
Malaysia played their second friendly after the Asian Cup squad was selected against UAE in Stadium MBPJ yesterday. It was heartening to see that despite the rain and traffic, the stadium was filled with fans (not completely, of course, but the number was quite good and it was a positive sign that the fans are still hoping and backing up Norizan Bakar's boys. It helped that it was free so those of you who felt the rain was too much to come over, you missed it - it's not often that you can get to see a national team play a friendly against another national team for free. Which means that probably the money which we questioned earlier (RM300,000) given by FAM to the Asian Cup team, was probably used to offset the cost of bringing these teams here, holding these free matches etc etc. If THAT is really the case, then we at BorakBola apologise for questioning which is after all, part of the taxpayers' money.

Anyway, we didn't quite expect the good turnout. We are bad with estimating crowds but it looked pretty good to us. Not Premiership or La Liga good, but good considering it IS the Malaysian team we are talking about here and it was also a Thursday night and when most Klang Valley residents were caught in the jam.

Anyway, back to the game itself. It is obvious that Bruno Metsu's boys weren't in the mood to be as generous as the Cambodians. We are expected that this is a different class of team altogether and it was a good reminder to the Pasukan Kebangsaan that more things need to fixed and done before the Asian Cup tournament begins. The visitors adapted well to the wet surface and despite the fact the Malaysian started quite brightly, it was the visitors who scored early in the ninth minute as a result of bad passing between the Malaysian players.

The remaining first half was uneventful with both teams finding ways to probe each others' defences although the UAE lookied more dangerous with surging runs on their right flank which occassionally troubled the Malaysian defence. What was lacking to the Malaysian game was someone to dictate the midfield and string in the passes and provide service to both Akmal and Hairuddin. It seemed that Malaysia was content to go through the left side with Rosdi Talib and Ivan Yusoff working hard but could not throw the crosses in. It was left to Hairuddin and Akmal to try and breakthough with passes between each other but this was difficult with the UAE defence playing high and with no support. Hardi Jaafar didn't play and we couldn't see him in the subs bench and we wonder what's happened to him. It was clear that the midfield missed the Melaka Telekom playmaker.

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Where art thou Hardi?

Perhaps coach Norizan Bakar was experimenting with a defence-minded midfield because he started with Norhafiz Zamani and Shukor Adan in the middle (a strategy when meeting stronger, more offensive teams?) but BorakBola felt that this pairing was neither here nor there because there were on many occassion that UAE strolled through the middle of the park with no cover and backtracking by both players. And this midfield pairing didn't help much with the attack. In fact we were thoroughly disappointed with Shukor's performance - he was not covering anyone, not helping with the defence, watched whenever the UAE attacked and didn't do much with the offence either. It almost seem he had half his mind in the upcoming second leg of the FA Cup between his state team Selangor and Kedah. Hopefully that this is only a one-off thing because Shukor is a good player, usually hardworking, strong in tackling and could muck it in the middle against anyone.

So much so that during the first half, the only chances Malaysia has was a header by Hairuddin from an Ivan cross and a free-kick by Akmal - both of which that sailed wide of the goal.

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We must say that pairing of K Nanthakumar and the captain Muhammad Khaironnisam was quite good in the first half. They were calm and composed but lost their concentration a bit in the second half to allow the two other goals (probably down to fatigue). Azizon Kadir in goal looked okay. He wasn't tested much and frankly it was not much he can do with the goals as they were scored from mostly point blank range.

The goals Malaysia conceded in the second half were simply, as a result of bad passes, poor clearance. and no covering support from the midfield. In a nutshell, it was down to poor concentrate. Something that team must improve if we were to stand a chance against better teams such as Iran and China.

But the breath of fresh air was the introduction of Eddie Helmi. The scorer of two goals against Cambodia was lively on the right flank and looked a threat with his clever runs. In fact he threw in two passes to Akmal which the latter missed. But deep in injury time he made another good run to the UAE box and crossed neatly to Akmal to slot in. This provided much cheer to the Malaysian supporter who still, from what it seemed, believed in the team and still hoping.

Our next friendly is against Jamaica in a week's time and meanwhile, at the same time yesterday our neighbour and Asia Cup co-host, Indonesia, managed to beat Jamaica 2-1 in a friendly of their own in Jakarta. Their goals were scored by former Selangor striker, Bambang Pamungkas. Indonesia has won two out of their last 3 friendlies (winning against Hong Kong and Jamaica, losing to Singapore). So if we are able to maintain concentration and work on our passes, there's a chance it won't be much of a holiday for the touring Reggae Boyz.

Man of the match for Malaysia: Eddie Helmi
Need more work: Shukor and Hairuddin. More passing drills Cikgu Jan!

Full Time Result:
Malaysia 1 - UAE 3

Stadium MBPJ

Akmal Rizal (injury time)

Players Used:
Azizon Kadir, V. Thirumurugan, Mohd Khaironnisam Shahabuddin, K. Nanthakumar (Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, 73rd), Rosdi Talib, Mohd Ivan Yusoff (Mohd Norfarhan Mohamad, 56th), Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (Mohd Fadzli Saari, 63rd), Mohd Shukor Adan, Shahrulnizam Mustafa (Eddie Helmi Manan, 55th), Akmal Rizal Rakhli, Hairuddin Omar.


If you have the time tonight, don't forget to scoot your way to Stadium MBPJ in Petaling Jaya to watch the Pasukan Kebangsaan continue its Asian Cup preparation by playing in a friendly against another Asian Cup participant, United Arab Emirates, the current Gulf Cup holder.

Kick-off is at 8.45pm


Azizon Kadir, Rosdi Talib, Muhammad Khaironnisam Shahabuddin, K. Nanthakumar, Mohd Hamzani Omar, Mohd Hardi Jaafar, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Mohd Ivan Yusoff, Shahrulnizam Mustapa, Akmal Rizal Rakhli, Mohd Safee Sali

Pusingan U

Relief after FAM releases players for FA Cup matches

PETALING JAYA: It's a big relief, especially for Selangor and Kedah, as all national players preparing for the AFC Asian Cup Finals next month have been released by the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to play in this weekend's return leg FA Cup semi-final matches. A total of 12 players would not have been eligible for the FA Cup semi-finals if the FAM had not reversed their earlier decision to bar their players in training from taking part.

In Saturday's matches, Selangor take on Kedah in Shah Alam while Perlis will be playing Johor PG in Kangar. After the first leg matches last Saturday, Kedah have a 2-0 lead over Selangor while Johor PG hold a 2-1 advantage over the Northern Lions.

Selangor were the worst affected with six players – goalkeeper Syed Andey Syed Hussain, midfielders Shukor Adan, Mohd Fadzli Saari and Amirulhadi Zainal, strikers Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Mohd Safi Sali - in training. Kedah's three players defenders, V. Thirumurugan and Mohd Fauzi Saari, and striker Mohd Khyril Muhymeen, would have been missing.

The other three players affected were two players from Perlis, defenders Fauzie Naan and Azi Shahril Azmi, and one player from Johor PG defender Hamzani Omar
Taken from The Star

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Six countries in running to host ASEAN Championships

Six countries have put themselves forward to be one of two hosts of the 2008 ASEAN Football Championships.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam all declared an interest at an ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) meeting.

The AFF, on its website, said Myanmar and Singapore needed to be inspected before a shortlist of candidates is drawn up at their next meeting, usually held every three months. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam are all co-hosts of next month's Asian Cup finals and their facilities are considered adequate for the biennial ASEAN competition, co-hosted by Singapore and Thailand earlier this year.

So far, only Laos has said it wants to host the qualifying rounds.
Taken from AFP news

Okay, so that's next year. Following trends of the previous ASEAN Football Championships, the tournament seems to run around December to January. Hopefully FAM will remind themselves to ENSURE that this time around they have the fixtures planning right. After all, we are the one requesting for the hosting rights.

Previous Report Cards: Asian Cup

According to wikipedia, these are Malaysia's past performance in the Asia Cup:
1956 - 1972 - Did Not Qualify (5 tournaments in total)
1976 - Round One
1980 - Round One
1984 - 2004 - Did Not Qualify ( 5 tournaments in total)
2007 - Qualified as Host

1976 - Iran
In 1976 when the tournament was held in Iran, Malaysia narrowly missed going into the semis, as the team finished last in Group A consisting of Kuwait, China and Malaysia. This despite having the same points with China, only losing out through goal differences:

Kuwait 2 - 0 Malaysia
China 1 - 1 Malaysia
Kuwait 1 - 0 China

The only goal scored was by the late Mokhtar Dahari. Malaysia actually scored first in the 50' minute, only for the Chinese to equalise 8 minutes later.

1980 - Kuwait
This was the team that consisted of (among others) players like Ramli Junit, Soh Chin Aun, Jamal Nasir, Abdaf Alif and Shukor Salleh and coached by Mohamad Che Su. In a group that also included Korea, Qatar, UAE and the host, Kuwait, Malaysia again missed the semis by coming out third in the group (1 point behind Kuwait that had 5).

Malaysia won 1 and lost 1 game, and drew 2 games.

They drew the game against Qatar and Korea (amazing!), lost 1 -3 to Kuwait and won 2 - 0 against UAE.

Show Me The Money! (Part 2)

According the news report taken from Utusan Malaysia today, the Pasukan Kebangsaan stands to receive a nice 'reward' from the FAM if they perform well in the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2007. Tengku Abdullah, the Vice-President of FAM was quoted as saying that the 'reward' has always been ready and waiting for 'quite some time', but that they have not been able to give it to Pasukan Kebangsaan as they have not performed well in tournaments.

Of course, it helps that FAM has recently received the RM12.3 million from the NSC (National Sports Council). According to the news report, a total of RM 300,000 alone will be given to the team for this Asian Cup outing.

RM 300,000 means Malaysia will get or spend an average of RM 100,000 per game day. Where does this money go to? To the players? To the technical team? Expenditure? If it is the latter, what kind of expenditure? It seems like a lot of money. After all, we are hosting the game and 'we' meaning FAM itself and not the Pasukan Kebangsaan. And being in our country, surely food, accommodation and transport will not cost so much? It does not really specify whether the money will be given during the tournament, or after they achieved some sort of 'success'. So is it an early incentive?

It's pretty hard to understand FAM's stance on this. Are we trying to motivate the team this way? Through rewards? What kind of reward? Money? Land titles? And with the team placed in a very difficult group, how would FAM define as 'performing well'? It will be very subjective.

BorakBola that Malaysia pull some surprise win against China and Uzbekistan and maybe hold Iran to a draw. Ambitious but never impossible because in football anything can happen. Heck, even one win against any of these three giants of Asia would be performing well. But does that mean that the team will be rewarded then?

Fix The Fixture

This is an example of the stupidity of the artifacts at FAM. You KNOW ahead of time that you will be hosting the Asian Cup. It's not like the AFC told you about it last week. You KNOW that a season should run an x amount of time. But noooooo....they cannot even fix the M League and FA Cup fixtures right. Two, three weeks before the biggest tournament in this continent that you as the HOST will be participating and yet you still arrange the fixtures in such a way that the state teams will lose their key players. Selangor is losing 6 players to the Pasukan Kebangsaan and they are trailing 0 - 2 going into the second leg of the FA Cup semi-final. Of course lah they won't be happy. Don't know how to plan is it? (Oh yeah, we forgot, of course they don't. Otherwise the state of football in this country would not be this bad.)

We admit, to be fair, they probably can come up with the excuse that the JFA (Japan Football Association) is doing the same boo-boo with their fixtures in the J League with relation to their own Asia Cup participation. But JFA is #40 in the world. While Malaysia is like 109 rungs lower.

Would it be cheaper to sack the entire honchos at FAM than to send them to train at England? Or can we use some of the new fundings (see below) for good brain transplants all around?

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Brain Transplant. Probably cheaper

Remember that one weekend, when the EPL had the FA Cup Final between United and Chelsea? Guess what? FAM decided to have games that night too. Not surprisingly, when we saw the update of the M League games on TV that night, most of the games were played to empty stadiums. It was already poor attendance before! But this is like playing behind closed doors. Of course your average Malaysians are watching the FA Cup on TV? Takkan tak tahu tahu lagi? We are so sure the bosses of FAM were watching it too instead of going to the M League games. Again, EPL releases their fixtures early. So does the La Liga. Can someone from FAM who handle the fixture cross-check this make sure there are good attendance of the M League games with no distraction from major EPL games?

S'gor to FAM: Please release our players


PETALING JAYA: Selangor have appealed to the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to release six of their players from the national team. Selangor face the return leg of the FA Cup semi-final match against Kedah at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday. Selangor lost the firt leg 0-2 in Alor Star last Saturday.

Goalkeeper Syed Andey Syed Hussain, midfielders Shukor Adan, Fadzli Saari and Amirulhadi Zainal, as well as strikers Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Mohd Safi Sali, are undergoing their final phase of training with the national team for the Asian Cup Finals which start on July 7.

"It would be extremely difficult for us to play a team like Kedah without our regular players," said Selangor coach Dollah Salleh. "Having one or two missing from the line-up is something I can handle, but missing six first choice players is too much for any team.

"It's a very crucial moment for us in the FA Cup. A two-goal deficit is something we can turn around but it would difficult without our top players," he said. Kedah would also be missing three players on national duty -- defenders V. Thirumurugan and Mohd Fauzi Saari, and striker Mohd Khyril Muhymeen
Taken from The Star

Show Me The Money!

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FAM gets RM12.2m from NSC to run programmes

KUALA LUMPUR: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) have received RM12.2 million from the National Sports Council (NSC) to run their various programmes over the next 12 months.

The bulk of the money of about RM6 million will go towards the Sukan Teras (core sports) programmes while RM3 million will be used for the state football academies. The FAM and the NSC signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) on Monday to ensure that the sports association give their full commitment to running the programmes under the aid scheme.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said said: “For some time now, I have stressed that there is need to be accountable for the aid we give to these associations and that the money under the programme should not be used for other projects. “The FAM are the first association to sign such a MOU. We are happy that they understand the need for it and I am confident that they will carry out the programmes as outlined in their proposal.”

The minister added that all national association who received aid from the NSC were required to sign the MOU. Besides Sukan Teras and the state football academies, the money would also be channelled to junior national teams, Korat SEA Games, Asian Cup, coaching and women’s football.

The FAM were represented by secretary general Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad while director general Datuk Zolkples Embong signed for the NSC.

Dr Ibrahim said that they understood the NSC's stand on the financial aid and gave an assurance that they would adhere to the objectives of the programmes.

“In fact some of the programmes have already begun. We have also set out in our proposal where the money will go and there is be no issue on this score. The programmes are basically to strengthen our grassroots development and we believe that the investments will benefit us in the long run,” he said
Taken from The Star

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

FA Sites

We at BorakBola often surf the web to catch up on news about football - reading Soccernet daily is almost a fix to us, so that we can be updated with the latest news from around the world. Then we will go to the official FC Barcelona site. Naturally being Malaysian we support a foreign club team more than a local team (but we are hoping that would change soon, which is why this site is set up). We will then go over to the SoccerSpain website to catch up on news about the La Liga itself, occassionally stopping by the Mundo Deportivo website (pro Barça) and Marça (pro Madrid) - both in Spanish to catch up any gossips (with the help of Babelfish translation).

At the same time another tab would open the 24-7 Soccer forum where we sometimes join the discussion especially in the Barça fans forum. Here we will get more news and updates and opinions from all over the world. Every Monday BorakBola would also open the J-League site to see how our other favourite team, Yokohama F Marinos fare over the weekend. For a light-hearted perspective, we would go to MOIST, a blog written by an expat Marinos fan based in Yokohama.

And yet we didn't forget about the local team that we support. A former staff once told BorakBola about a website for Selangor FC made by a true fan 2 years ago. The guy who did the site is his friend and we met him once at Shah Alam. Now that we don't go to the stadium as often as before to watch the M-Leagues games, we follow up with the results by going to the website. It's a well maintained site and very up to date.

Now with the Asian Cup around the corner, we are constantly browsing the AFC website. And from there we would jump into the regional team's FA site. For us the Indonesian FA site is well made and very informative, telling the curious fan all the updates and happenings right down to their fans activities and shirt sponsors details. We rank this site as one of the best in the region followed closely by the Singapore FA site. We are unsure that the Thai FA has an official site yet.

Which brings us to FAM's site. For us, frankly, it is SAD, SAD website. It is outdated. The designs are lame. The lay-out poor and so pre-millenium. This is the stuff that kids at secondary schools would do for their class website design project. Poor menu, terrible flash animation. You first reach some welcoming page with some techno music comes out and the FA couldn't be bothered to at least respect Pasukan Kebangsaan's new sponsor by updating the team and players pictures inside. And the information are slow to come by too and you cannot access the archives.

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"Yeah, I need to complete this for the FAM this week"

We wonder, if a young fan was trying to do some research or find out more about the past heroes and past players that contributed to the national team, there are NOTHING in there that will tell him or her that. You click on 'History' and instead you find out how FAM was started and who leads it. At least promote the current team. Who's in it? Who plays in what position and wears what number? Who were our famous players? Who were in the Moscow Olympic Team that didn't get to go? With ALL the money and funding that the government injects to FAM at least the people at FAM can check out the various FA sites around the world and learn!

No need to go far, look at Indonesia and Singapore. We are not asking the world here but make the investment count and not waste the taxpayer's money. No need to go on learning visit overseas. We am sure there are many talented local web designers who would be able to re-do the FAM site at a good price. Or why don't FAM call up the Selangor FC website guy?

We guess as long as the old farts in Wisma FAM remain festering in their position not doing anything but destroying the image of the national team and the game the way they have been doing for the last 20 years - you can't expect much.

Now that MSN has given more money to FAM, wonder if the leftovers that can't fit into their pockets can be done to change the website, for starters?

Nothing wrong in hoping. As we will never stop hoping for the Pasukan Kebangsaan!

Where's The Passion?

This is an interesting article by Jason Dasey in If you watch ESPN Sportcentre you'd probably know who Jason Dasey is. Any comments?

The row over Manchester United's now aborted trip to Malaysia provides a revealing insight into the true priorities in south-east Asian football.Manchester United were invited to play a Malaysian XI in Kuala Lumpur just two days before the Asian Cup final in Jakarta. But the English champions reluctantly cancelled after pressure from the region's governing body, the AFC.
The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had unsuccessfully argued that Kuala Lumpur's obligations to the Asian Cup would end when it hosted a semi-final on July 25th, two days before the Man United game.

However, an earlier agreement which Malaysian officials signed with the AFC promised not to hold any football events that might deflect attention away from the Asian Cup - starting 10 days before the first match and ending three days after the final.

The decision infuriated local fans who were looking forward to the prospect of watching stars like Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the nation's independence. 'In Malaysia, we are passionate about football and cannot get enough of it,' one fan told Malaysia's New Straits Times. 'You must remember than many of us cannot afford to visit Old Trafford.'

The reality is that south-east Asian sports fans are far more interested in the upcoming English Premier League season than they are in the region's showcase international tournament. And that's despite the fact that the quadrennial event is being co-hosted by four south-east Asian nations - Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia - for the first time.

The region has long been dominated by the powerhouses of north Asia - Japan and South Korea - and by the wealthy, oil-rich nations from west Asia, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. No south-east Asian country has ever gone close to making to the World Cup Finals and only Thailand and Indonesia qualified for the last Asian Cup in China.

Truth be told, very few pundits expect any of the four host nations, especially Malaysia, to make it past the group stages, despite the huge advantage of playing at home. South-east Asian football has learned through tough experiences not to raise its expectations too high and, after all, there's always the escapism of the EPL, the UEFA Champions League and the Spanish Primera Liga.

For five years in Singapore, I witnessed the passion of football fans, who would religiously follow their favourite European team on cable television, or in open-air bars, brightly dressed in their teams' colours. The seven-hour time difference with the U.K. means guaranteed Saturday night entertainment with a convenient 10pm kick off. Of course, their enthusiasm is often spiced up by betting - both legal and illegal - which generates millions of dollars across all of south-east Asia.

By contrast, Singapore's S-League, which runs March to November to straddle over two European seasons, has a modest following, generally with crowds of four thousand of less. An average player is rarely paid more than US$2500 per month, which is about the same as a public school teacher.

At an international level, Singapore tasted success when it was crowned south-east champions by beating Thailand in the final of the ASEAN Championship in February. Even so, Singapore's FIFA ranking is a lowly 131 and they failed to qualify for the Asian CupLast September, I was at Singapore's National Stadium when they faced China in a crucial qualifier which they needed to win to keep alive their chances of advancing to the Asian Cup finals.

Over a hectic 90 minutes, although they were outplayed by a technically superior Chinese side that dominated possession and squandered a host of chances, Singapore escaped with a lucky 0-0 draw. Even though the result meant the Lions were effectively eliminated from the Asian Cup finals, the Singapore players did a triumphant lap of honour to celebrate sharing the spoils with a strong north Asian nation.

It showed me the gap - perceived or otherwise - between south-east Asian football and the rest of the region.
You can't blame overseas clubs like Manchester United for looking to make profitable, self-serving trips and for not being aware of regional tournaments. But the AFC was totally within its rights to pull the welcome mat from below the Red Devils' feet as it strives to create a product that south-east Asia should care about.

Test v Friendly

If you look at FAM's website, you'll notice that they have classified the recent game between Malaysia and Cambodia and the upcoming game between Malaysia and Jamaica as "test" matches while the game against UAE as a "friendly" (see here Under 'National Team Activities'.)

As far as BorakBola knows, the term 'test matches' are only used in cricket and rugby (union and league) and if the term is used in football, it is not applicable between international teams.

So why did the FAM describe these games as such? If anyone knows or someone from FAM is reading this, perhaps you can email us the answer at or leave your comments below.

Small matter but it annoys the hell out of us.

MATCH REPORT: Malaysia v Cambodia (Test Match) 18 June

Full Time Result:
Malaysia 6 - Cambodia 0

Shah Alam Stadium

Rosdi Talib (14th)
Ivan Yusof (47th)
Hairuddin Omar (61st)
Eddie Helmi (81st, 88th)
Aidil Zafuan (90th)

Players Used:
Azizon Abdul Kadir (Mohd Suffian Abdul Rahman, 74th), Mohd Hamzani Omar (Mohd Fauzie Nan, 62nd) K. Nanthakumar, Muhammad Khaironnisam Shahabuddin, Rosdi Talib, Shahrulnizam Mustapa (Eddy Helmi Manan, 60th), Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (Muhamad Aidil Zafuan, 58th), Rezal Zambery Yahya (Mohd Ivan Yusoff, 32nd), Muhammad Hardi Jaafar, Indra Putra Mahayuddin (Mohd Nor Farhan Mohamad, 55th), Hairuddin Omar (Nazrulerwan Makmor, 78th)

Taken from
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia preparations for next month's AFC Asian Cup 2007™ received a boost when the thrashed Cambodia 6-0 in a friendly here on Monday. The home side will go up against the United Arab Emirates on Thursday and Jamaica on June 28 before beginning their AFC Asian Cup 2007™ campaign against last edition’s runners-up China on July 10.

Former captain Rosdi Talib celebrated his return to the team after a three-year absence by opening the scoring in the 23rd minute with a 30-yard strike. The home side missed several chances to increase their advantage and had to wait until soon after the break for their second goal, with Mohd Ivan Yusoff scoring from close range.

Hairuddin Omar made it 3-0 in the 58th minute before Eddy Helmi added two more. Aidil Zafuan finished off the Cambodians with a goal in the final seconds.

Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar said: “It is important that we get off on the right note in the first game of the final phase - now we have to be better in the second match (against UAE).”

Taken from
The Malaysian national team started their final phase of preparation for the Asian Cup 2007 on a confident note when they blasted Cambodia 6-0 at the Stadium Shah Alam tonight. But the game which was used to test the mechanics for Kuala Lumpur’s readiness to host the Asian Cup 2007 next month, could have seen the Malaysian side walking away with a bigger scoreline had they been sharper with the chances they had.

And although they could take solace that the team under head coach Norizan Bakar showed glimpses of confidence to break through the Cambodian defence, still the Asian Cup will be a different ball game. “The positive thing was obviously the results,” said head coach Norizan Bakar after the match.

“It is important that we get off on the right note in the first game of the final phase – now we have be better in the second match (against United Arab Emirates in three days).”

Following the naming of the ‘strongest possible squad’ on the weekend, the pressure is there for the Malaysian team to inject more character going into the final phase following their turbulent trip to Australia last month. It would seem however that there were lessons which Norizan had picked up from Down Under especially with the naming of his backline to include K. Nanthakumar to partner captain Muhammad Khaironnisam Shahabuddin.

With forwards Hairuddin Omar and Indra Putra Mahayuddin not able to make much of the chances created in the opening half, it was left to leftback Rosdi Talib to celebrate his return to the national side with a spectacular 30metre drive for the first goal in the 23rd minute. The changes for the ineffective Indra and Rezal Zambery Yahya gave Malaysia more pace at the centre of the park and shortly after coming on, Mohd Ivan Yusoff blasted in from close range two minutes after the restart to put Malaysia in a comfortable position.

Several misses on a trot later failed to blot Malaysia’s win in front of a sporadic crowd as Hairuddin (58th), Eddy Helmi Manan (61st and 88th) and Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak (90th) all make the score sheet for the final scoreline.


It's time to give the Pasukan Kebangsaan a break and give 'em a chance. It's not like you'd have to pay RM100 to watch them play live. Let's wear the national kit, wear our yellow and black, bring the Jalur Gemilang and head on to the stadiums to watch them play!

FAM has lined up a few friendlies before the Asian Cup kicks off. Yesterday (18 June 2005) the Pasukan Kebangsaan had a 'test match' with Cambodia at Shah Alam Stadium which we won 6-0. I missed that one as I was in Singapore. I wished I could see the potentials and how the team play.

But up next is a friendly Malaysia v UAE. It will be on THURSDAY, 21 JUNE 2007 at Stadium MBPJ. Kick off is at 8.45pm

So let's try to be there and tell the boys that we can do it. (and try to use their heads when playing)

United Arab Emirates is coached by none other than Monsieur Bruno Metsu. Remember him? That dodgy looking, long haired French guy who coached the Senegal team in the 2002 World Cup. They are ranked #94 in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking (#24 in Asia). They have just recently won the Gulf Cup beating Oman in the final. Ismail Matar was their main hitman then. I don't know if he's the Asian Cup squad. But that Brazillian born, Oliveira dude will not be coming as apparently his naturalisation process will not be ready in time for the Asian Cup. They are grouped in Group C alongside Japan, Qatar & Vietnam.

after that, it will be Malaysia v Jamaica (THURSDAY, 28 JUNE 2007 at Stadium MBPJ. Kick off at 8.45pm) What's up with that? This is like the Reggae Boyz man...jamming in our 'hood. So we definitely should go to the stadium in hordes and remind them to go back to jammin' and stop playin'. Malu lah if they come and see the stadium is empty. World Cup team you know? I know that Indonesia has lined up a friendly with Jamaica too which probably means they are on a ASEAN Tour (holiday?)

The Reggae Boyz has not been that successful after qualifying for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. They didn't qualify in 2002 and 2006 and didn't perform well in the recent Carribean Cup (filled with rum?) by not even passing the first stage that the media there have been calling them the Reggae Toyz. Jason Euell (Boro) plays for them and they are ranked #68 in the latest ranking.

So write that down in your diaries, pda, organisers, kid's head - 21 June - vs UAE, 28 June - vs Reggae Toyz err Boyz.

A Bit About Cikgu Jan

Norizan Bakar (born January 1961), or Cikgu Jan as he is fondly known by his players was appointed the coach of the Malaysian National Football Team or Pasukan Kebangsaan (as we like to call it here) just before the 2005 SEA Games, replacing the Hungarian coach, Bertalan Bicskei. During that time Norizan was coaching Penang, who scrapped through the 2005 season barely escaping relegation (only surviving through goal differences).

However, it was his time with Perlis the season before that caught the eye of FAM. Norizan led the Northern Lions or Singa Utara to the FA Cup Final in 2003 before winning the Malaysia Cup in 2004 in a northern states derby, defeating Kedah in the final. It was the first time that Perlis has lifted the Cup. Prior to that, Norizan served as assistant to both national coaches Abdul Rahman Ibrahim and Allan Harris from 1999 to 2003.

With only two months given to prepare the team for the 2005 SEA Games in Phillipines, Norizon managed to guide the team to bronze medal finish. FAM decided to stick on with Norizan and stopped searching for foreign coaches.

The Pasukan Kebangsaan then had a poor Merdeka Invitational Tournament but FAM's faith in him was restored when he came close to end Malaysia's 11 years wait to win the ASEAN Football Championship (formerly the Tiger Cup), only losing to eventual champions Singapore in the semis in penalties.

The former Perlis player is known to be a serious and committed coach and values team camaraderie and discipline. According to news report I've read, his initial appointment was under a two year contract which means it might expire after the Asian Cup.

Malaysia announces team for the Asian Cup

Norizan Bakar names experienced Malaysia squad

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian coach Norizan Bakar has named a strong and experienced squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2007™.

Indra Putra Mahayuddin returns to the 23-man squad and will be leading the attack with Hairuddin Omar, Akmal Rizal Rakhli and Mohd Safee Sali. While Mahayuddin is in, Kedah forward Khyril Muhymeen Zambri and Sabah’s Ronny Harun have been named on the reserves’ list.

Norizan named debutants Azizon Kadir of Negeri Sembilan and TMFC’s Suffian Abdul Rahman as goalkeepers. Pahang veteran Rosdi Talib makes a comeback to the national team after three years. The other experienced players are Kaironissam Sahabuddin, K. Nanthakumar, Norhafiz Zamani Misbah, Mohd Shukor Adan, Mohd Fadzli Saari and Eddy Helmi Abdul Manan.

"If there are any last-minute injuries, a replacement will come from the list of seven reserves. Those on the reserve list will still be training with the team," said Norizan.
“This is not a testing ground for the inexperienced players,” Norizan said yesterday.


GK: Azizon Kadir (Negeri Sembilan), Suffian Abdul Rahman (TMFC).

DF: Kaironnisam Sahabuddin Hussain (UPB-MyTeam), Hamzani Omar (Johor Pasir Gudang), Fauzie Nan (Perlis), Nazrulerwan Makmor (PKNS), K. Nanthakumar (Perak), V. Thirumurugan (Pahang), Rosdi Talib (Pahang), Aidil Zafuan Radzak (Negeri Sembilan).

MF: Hardi Jaafar (TMFC), Norhafiz Zamani Misbah (Pahang), Ivan Yusoff (Kuala Lumpur), Fadzli Saari (Selangor), Shahrulnizam Mustapha (Perak), Eddy Helmi Manan (Johor FC), Nor Farhan Muhammad (Terengganu), Fauzi Shaari (Kedah), Shukor Adan (Selangor).

FW: Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli (Selangor), Safee Sali (Selangor), Indra Putra Mahayuddin (Pahang), Hairuddin Omar (Pahang).

Reserves: Syed Adney Syed Hussain (Selangor), S. Subramaniam (Perak), Khyril Muhymeen Zambri (Kedah), Amirulhadi Zainal (Selangor), Azi Shahril Azmi (Perlis), Rezal Zambery Yahya (Negeri Sembilan) Ronny Harun (Sabah).
Taken from the AFC website

7 Up!

According the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking released in June 2007, the Pasukan Kebangsaan is ranked 149 in the world. We have a total of 106 points and actually climbed 7 rungs higher than we were previously in May 2007.

Italy remained in the first spot with 1653 points with France climbing up into second with Brazil falling into third. Germany also went up to fourth pushing Argentina down. England remained in 8th place. These are the top 10 teams in the World:

1) Italy
2) France
3) Brazil
4) Germany
5) Argentina
6) Portugal
7) Spain
8) England
9) Netherlands
10) Czech Republic

Japan is the top Asian team at #40, Iran is second at #47 and Australia close behind in third (#48). These are the top 10 teams in the AFC:

1) Japan (#40)
2) Iran (#47)
3) Australia (#48)
4) Korea Republic (#51)
5) Uzbekistan (#58)
6) Saudi Arabia (#62)
7) Oman (#74)
8) China (#76)
9) Iraq (#84)
10) Qatar (#85)

Technically we are #26 in Asia.

The ASEAN ranking meanwhile, are as follows:

1) Thailand (#122)
2) Singapore (#131)
3) Vietnam (#142)
4) Indonesia (#143)
5) MALAYSIA (#149)
6) Myanmar (#153)
7) Laos (#162)
8) Phillipines (#168)
9) Cambodia (#169)
10) Brunei (#170)
11) Timor Leste (#199)

In Group C of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup where the Pasukan Kebangsaan is in; China is #76, Uzbekistan is #58 and Iran is #47. We sure have our work cut out for us.

As a comparison, there are 199 teams listed in the ranking.

17 More Days to the AFC Asian Cup

The AFC Asian Cup, held every four years is one of the six FIFA confederation championships and it is run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It's been going on since 1956 but understandably, it is not as glamourous as the Euro or the Copa America. Ask the average fan who was the last Euro champs nearly everyone will have the answer but I don't think many would recall the current Asian Cup holders.

The winning national team is proclaimed champions of Asia and would qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup where they will then compete in the tournament against 7 other teams - winners of the Copa America, the African Nations Cup, the Euro, The OFC Nations Cup (Oceania), the Gold Cup (CONCACAF), the World Cup Winner and the World Cup Host Nation.

The last Asian Cup was held in China in 2004 where the Japan retained their title which they won four years earlier in Lebanon. The competition is usually dominated by teams from Mid-Asia namely Saudi Arabia and Iran but Japan has also sneaked in and took the cup back to the Far East 3 times and the Koreans are always a tough competitor. This year's competition will also see the the participation of the new AFC member, Australia (who's been pissed out because they always missed the World Cup for having to play in an intercontinental play-off. Now they figured it might be easier to do it the through the Asian door, which is why they left the OFC). Note that the Socceroos was the first non-host team to qualify.

What a minute, someone's asking, this year is only 2007? Shouldn't the Cup be played next year? Good question. The thing is, they wisely realised that Beijing and Euro is coming in 2008 and all this while they've been playing in the same years as the Olympics and Euro. So they pushed the Asian Cup to this year and it will be every four years onward after that.

What's special about the AFC Asian Cup 2007 is that this will be the first time in history that four nations will be co-hosting the tournament - Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The competition will start on 7 July 2007 and the final will be held at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on the 29 July 2007.

There will be 16 teams vying for those two spots in the final and ultimately lift the Cup itself. The Pasukan Kebangsaan is in Group C along with 2004 losing finalist China, 3 times Asian Champs Iran and Uzbekistan. Matches will be played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam Stadium, Selangor.

Matches involving Pasukan Kebangsaan are (all times local):

10 July 2007 (Tue) - 2035 hrs MALAYSIA v CHINA
14 July 2007 (Sat) - 1820 hrs UZBEKISTAN v MALAYSIA
18 July 2007 (Wed) - 2035 hrs MALAYSIA v IRAN

Tickets should be between RM 20 for covered stands and RM 30 for grand stands. You can get the tickets online by going here and clicking the link in there. I'm getting mine soon and I'll inform everyone where I got them and I hope you guys will keep these dates clear and go to the stadium in our yellow and black and support our team.

Monday, 18 June 2007

Selamat Datang to Borak Bola!

Welcome to Borak Bola. Borak Bola means 'talk football' in Bahasa Malaysia. I intend to update Malaysian football fans both local and abroad, or fans of football in general, as much as I can about all the activity of the Malaysian National Team or Pasukan Kebangsaan. I noticed that if I wanted to find out more about the Pasukan Kebangsaan, the information is scarce and pretty hard to come by. I personally think that the local media especially the print media are not doing enough to promote the team in a positive manner.

Online, you can find some pretty good site to keep in touch with foreign leagues and national team's progress such as sites for the Spanish La Liga and the J-League. I am hoping that this site will be one of the focal points for followers of the Pasukan Kebangsaan to refer to. Of course, in this early stages, I will also refer to reports, articles and hearsays taken from the web. I hope to get more direct news, contributions from others and I also intend to keep an update on the ASEAN football scenes as well. Soon, I hope.

This year, Malaysia will host the AFC Asian Cup. Many Malaysians have no expectations of the Pasukan Kebangsaan. If there are any, perhaps the only expectation Malaysians will have would be that the Pasukan Kebangsaan are almost certain to lose and not progress beyond the group stages. Some Malaysians probably couldn't care less about Malaysia being in the competition. In fact, many are even pissed that we are having that instead of hosting the English Premiership Champions, Manchester United during their upcoming Far East Tour.

I am hoping that the competition will be a stepping stone for football in Malaysia to reach another level. High hopes many would say. But there's nothing wrong with believing. If Malaysia do well or at least play well, that would be a start. Remember how the national hockey team performed at the recent Sultan Azlan Shah's Tournament? It was a breath of fresh air and everyone was excited about the national hockey team again. When we won the doubles at All England, kids started to pick-up their badminton rackets again.

Our Pasukan Kebangsaan have absolutely nothing to lose. With the country's expectations at the lowest ebb, there should be no undue pressure for the players. If we lose, its expected. But if we even win one game, imagine how excited the country will be again. Malaysian fans are a fickle lot. But we still are a hopeful lot, even if we don't show it that much. Remember the ASEAN Cup? Sometimes it is good to be the underdogs.