Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Time To Take It Easy

We have been tardy in updating the blog these last few days. We apologise. The BorakBola team have been away to Jakarta to watch the final match of the AFC Asian Cup 2007. And what a final it was! We will talk about the game in another posting.

Have you seen FAM's new logo? We think many have seen it as the email has been going round for about 2 - 3 weeks or so. If you have not, we are kind enough to show it to you here at BorakBola.

We received it two weeks ago and forgot all about it until another round of forwarded email was sent to us again. We think it's funny and brilliant. And whoever who was creative enough to think of this should take a bow.

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And here's also what we heard recently:

We understand that Nestlé, through Maggie Malaysia, will be introducing a new, limited edition, stock gravy cubes in Malaysia. This is to commemorate our recent achievements in the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

The specially packaged, yellow and black cubes, will be marketed and called The Laughing Stock

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New FAM version coming out soon

Okay, so we stole the joke from Japan and made it local.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Takut Kut?

Extra-time for Malaysia's Asian Cup post-mortem

KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 (Reuters) - Malaysia's under-fire soccer officials have asked for more time from the government to explain why the national team flopped at the Asian Cup.

Ibrahim Saad, general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), told local media they were unable to meet the Sports Cabinet Committee's request for a Tuesday meeting.

Out of the Asian Cup's four ASEAN host countries, Malaysia were the only team to fare badly, losing all three Group C matches, conceding 12 goals and scoring just once.

'We have to conduct our own post-mortem of the Asian Cup first. We need to get reports from the technical study group and other officials involved,' Ibrahim said in the New Straits Times on Friday.

'We need sufficient time to give the people who are involved to compile the necessary documents, give their opinions and make the necessary recommendations.'

Malaysia's poor performances resulted in the resignation of FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, while the government demanded sweeping changes in the country's soccer structure.

Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia co-hosted the tournament with Malaysia. The final is on Sunday in Jakarta between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
Taken from Soccernet

Where Are You?

Remember the posting after the Malaysia v Iran game that we at BorakBola highlighted that there were no familiar Malaysian or FAM faces sitting at the main area reserved for the VVIPs? This is the fact, NO ONE from the FAM Technical Committee except Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad turned up to watch ANY of the game.

How bad was it? Well, in this picture we took, albeit not really clear you will notice that 99.9% sitting in the red seats are non-Malaysian. So much so, that although in the beginning of the match we saw The Flying Dutchman sitting at the back, near where the Match Commissioner was seated, towards the middle of the game, someone perhaps asked him to join the front row of the VVIP seats to have a 'Malaysian presence' there.

That's him by the way, in yellow.

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Funny that, having a person who's usually not in town replacing others who should've come to watch the game.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Merdeka Invitational Tournament

Here's what we know so far about this year 39th Merdeka Invitational Tournament or PestaBola Merdeka ke-39.

It will be held at the Shah Alam Stadium and MBPJ Stadium from August 20 - 29, 2007.

Malaysia will be sending the Under-23 aka The Travelling Boys to the tournament.

Other teams who have confirmed participation are defending champions Myanmar, Singapore, Indonesia and Bangladesh. The FAM are waiting for confirmation from Thailand, Zimbabwe and Lesotho. It is likely that Myanmar, Singapore and Indonesia will also be sending their U-23 teams.

The FA of Selangor are sponsoring the tournament. The winners will receive US$10,000 while the runners-up will get US$5,000.

The team’s performance in the Merdeka Tournament will be an indication of how Malaysia will fare in the Sea Games in Korat in December.

Thailand, learning from Malaysia perhaps, have sent their team to Bayern Munich, Germany, for a one-month training stint before they head here.

Latest! Thailand has declined the invitation to join the tournament. Reports mentioned that Maldives will come and participate instead

The Adventures of the Maggi Boys continues

These are the players with the training team for the upcoming CYC:


Khairul Fahmi Che Mat, Mohammad Fariq Abdul Rashid, Muhammad Nuraizat Abdul Aziz, Mohd Khairul Anwar Ruslan, S. Kumaresan, Mohd Asraruddin Putra Oman, Muhammad Ibnu Kassim, Mohd Nazrin Mohd Nawi, Errizal Othman, Azrul Azmi, Badrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Noor Hazrul Mahd Mustafa, Mohd Shahrul Hafiz Mohd Shafei, Mohd Syazwan Mohd Roslan, Azri Alwan Nordin, Sazali Suwandi, Abdul Halim Zainal, See Kok Luen, Mohd Aliff Hafifi Mohamad, Mohd Fadzil Azahar, Wan Mohamad Aliff Wan Jasmi, Mohd Bunyamin Omar.

And these are the matches lined-up for the squad:

24th July, 2007: vs Kedah (at Darul Aman Stadium, 1-2

26th July, 2007: vs Kedah President’s Cup squad (at University Utara Malaysia, kick off at 5pm)

28th July, 2007: vs Perak (at Perak Stadium, kick off at 5pm)

2nd August, 2007 (TENTATIVE): vs Negeri Sembilan NAZA (at Stadium Paroi, kick off at 5pm)

And Now, The Under-19

Okay, so we mentioned the Under-15 and Under-23 (which sometimes also means Under-21 and Under-20), we will soon touch on Under-16 (oh yes, its' a different team altogether from the U-15) and also the Danone Under-12 squad.

With the Champions Youth Cup (CYC) starting in the first week of August, we will first include some stories and news about the Under-19 squad.

The Unders
Let us get this straight and readers are welcome to clarify this because we are damn confused as well. We think that these are the Youth Squads in existence in Malaysia:

    Under-12 (Danone Cup)
    Under-15 (Under Aminuddin Hussin aka Mr Who?)
    Under-16 (Also under Mr Who?)
    Under-17 (Do they exist? Under who?)
    Under-18 (Do they exist? Under who?)
    Under-19 (Supposedly under K.Rajagobal)
    Under-20 (See above)
    Under-21 (Under B Sathianathan aka 300-Pages Passport Man)
    Under-23 (See above)

The upcoming assignments this year so far that we know are:

    Champions Youth Cup 2007 (Under-19)
    Merdeka Invitational Tournament (Under-23)
    Challenge Cup (Under-23)
    Korat SEA Games (Under-23)
    ASEAN Football Championship (Under-20)
    AFC Under-16 Qualifiers (Under-16)
    FAC Qualifiers (Under-20)

It's all so bloody messed up. Wait, be prepared to scroll up and down because you WILL need the squad reference above again if you continue reading what we are writing below. Trust us.

Champions Youth Cup
In anyway, let's talk about Champions Youth Cup. Touted as the biggest football event in Malaysia since the 1997 World Youth Cup, this controversial tournament has so far cost (it was initially not recognised by FIFA as it is organised with the G14 football 'gang'), a hefty RM17mil. Big clubs affliated with the G14 will be sending their Under-19 squads to the tournament. Read that again, this is a competition for the Under-19 age groups.

Malaysia are drawn in Group D which will include Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven. The matches will be played in Kuching. Alor Star is the venue for Group A which is made up of AC Milan, Flamengo, Ajax and Arsenal.

Juventus, Qatar, Paris Saint Germain and Barcelona are in Group B, which will be played in Kuantan while Malacca will host Group C made up of Boca Juniors, FC Internazionale, Manchester United and FC Porto.

Incidently, Malaysia's opening match will be against Bayern Munich - coached by former Malaysian international, Lim Teong Kim.

If the Malaysian fans are looking for a glimpse of hope after the disastrous showing by the Seniors in the Asian Cup, they will have a hard time finding it as it is unlikely the Under-19s will create any impact in this tournament. Other than the fact that the kids will have a daunting task facing future stars of world football, note that the U-19 has only been called up and assembled less than a month ago.

With that, we shall now call the U-19 the Maggi Boys.

To prepare the Maggi Boys, they are now based in Sintok, Kedah for centralised training. Yesterday, the team lost to Kedah 1-2 and today will take on Kedah President’s Cup squad at the Universiti Utara Malaysia ground today for another friendly.

Does a team, that is hastily assembled in less than a month's time to go before the CYC tournament begins, stands a chance against established clubs like Manchester United, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern when they cannot even beat a team like Kedah?

Isn't this perplexing?

It get's even more stranger. During the tour of Thailand earlier this month, Robert Alberts took a "team" that lost 8-0 and 5-0 respectively to Osotspa FC and Thailand International University. But wait, The Flying Dutchman didn't take the Under-19 boys for the Thailand trip, instead he took the Under-20 squad. So what was that all about?

So is the team really ready for the CYC? We doubt it. With ten days to go before the tournament starts, The Flying Dutchman himself has commented that the team needed to "improve on two weaknesses".

"We must be able to switch faster from defence to attack. The defensive line should be more organised when they are under pressure,"

Some of you may ask, who is Robert Alberts?

Robert Alberts is the Technical Director of FAM.

Some of you now may ask, after scrolling up again, why is he coaching the Under-19? Shouldn't it be K. Rajagobal?

Good question. The answer is: FAM is THAT disorganised.

Road Map
What we know is that Mr Alberts is rarely in the country. Somehow, despite the fact that he's supposed to prepare the 'Road Map' for FAM (since 2005) which is, we think, his primary task, he was busy earlier this year arranging the Under-16 trip to Brickendonbury. He was often out of the country that one time, the press caught one of the junior teams wearing adidas kits instead of the current sponsor, Nike. Because apparently, Nike will only liaise with The Flying Dutchman for distribution of the kit. So when he was not around, there was no one to get the training jerseys from.

Whatever it is, someone else really wanted Malaysia to host the CYC badly so like it or not, this is almost like the Asian Cup debacle all over again (Youth version) - let's host a big-ass competition but send an ill-prepared team. We've seen this script before.

But let's hear FAM's version:

Necessary Decision
20th July 2007 – Robert Alberts, the technical director of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) has defended the decision to use his services for the Champions Youth Cup next month.

The Dutchman explained that due to the fact that the coaching staff with the national body are each busy with their own assignments, the decision was made to use his experience for the youth tournament which will be held in Kuala Lumpur from 5th August to 19th August, 2007.

He said that Olympic head coach B. Sathianathan – in charge of the national Under-23 squad – will have to concentrate on the SEA Games preparation which will be held in December this year while national Under-19 head coach K. Rajagobal is busy with the preparation for the AFF meet (in Vietnam) and the AFC qualifiers in October.

“Coach Aminuddin (Hussin) on the other hand is currently in England with the U15 side where he is in charge of preparing the team for the AFC U16 qualifiers in November,” said Alberts (pic).

“It was not an easy decision to be made but we believe that since the other coaches are already involved with their respective assignments which have been drawn since last year, it is best that we do not disturb their programmes.

“Furthermore, with the Road Map almost complete, I believe that playing these games against opponents from Europe and South America will give me a better assessment as to where we should be heading as far as our youth development policy is concerned.”

In the meantime, Alberts said that the U19 squad will be leaving for Sintok in Kedah today as part of their preparation for the Champions Youth Cup where they have been placed in Group D alongside PSV Eindhoven, Bayern Munich and Chelsea.

The squad of 22 players will play a total of three matches before returning to Kuala Lumpur on 29th July, 2007.

They will then head to Port Dickson to complete their training programme before leaving for Group D base in Kuching on 5th August, 2007.

“Like what I’ve said before, the Champions Youth Cup is not for players to gain exposure but rather to win matches,” he quipped.
Taken from FAM's website

The Teacher and The Traveller

Whether Cikgu Jan or Coach Norizan Bakar has been sacked from his job is still a mystery to everyone but FAM. But in truth, we realised that with Sathianathan taking charge of the Travelling Boys for the Merdeka Invitational in August and Challenge Cup in October and Norizan's contract expiring in September, Norizan is as good as being fired. A somewhat 'finish up your annual leave before you resign' kind of thing, no?

So there ARE clever people at the Wisma in Jalan SS5A/9, Kelana Jaya after all. Amazing.

More Travelling

We always wonder who would actually pay RM600 for a 300-pages passport. We now have a few people in mind.

BorakBola was about to ask the question, "Where The Heck is Titus James?" when reader Lazlo Reparsi highlighted that SuperJuggler would be joining the Travelling Boys for the Merdeka Invitational/Challenge Cup/Korat SEA Games.

We searched high and low for clarification on this but as usual we haven't been looking at the right places and had our special FAM glasses on. We found out that SuperJuggler has a blog [http://titusjames.blogspot.com/] but that has not been updated since August 2005. The closest news we had was back in April when 300-Pages Passport Man mentioned that he wanted to call SuperJuggler back to join centralised training with the rest of the Travelling Boys.

The best bit we think from the news reports was this quote by (who else?):

“I’ll probably make a visit to see Titus play in France,”

Any excuse. Any excuse to go a-travelling.

It is said that SuperJuggler is keen to answer the call-up but must first meet his commitment with French Third Division The Third Division of the Ligue District - Seine et Marne Nord (or Seniors 3eme Division District) club, Villenoy AC. We recall that Bertalan Bicskei had also called him for trials for the Manila SEA Games back in 2005 but then he was only 18 then and was dropped.

A Bit About Titus James Palani
Titus started with the Villenoy AC Under-18 team before graduating into the senior side this year. He is the captain of the team and the club are currently third in the 15-team league.

The attacking midfielder was the team’s top scorer with 16 goals with the Villenoy Under-18 side two seasons ago.

He helped the team finish fifth in a 12-team league in Paris. Villenoy were also the FA Cup runners-up to Vaire.

Titus, now 20, went to France when he was 12 to seek a professional football future in Europe.

NB: This information about Titus James was gleamed from The Star. BorakBola cannot confirm the facts and we are conducting our research at the moment

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Middle East Fare

It will be an Iraq v Saudi Arabia final after all. Iraq managed to overcome Korea in last night's match in Kuala Lumpur by winning on penalties after the match ended goalless. Iraq's goalkeeper, Noor Sabri, who has a knack of wearing an adidas shirt despite the whole team being kitted out by Umbro, saved a penalty while Kim Jung-woo's final attempt for Korea hit the post.

This will be Iraq's first appearance in the finals in the history of the competition. The best result Iraq achieved was fourth placing in 1976. After a slow start in Bangkok, drawing 1-1 with host Thailand, Iraq turned on the style by defeating pre-tournament favourites Australia 3-1 on matchday 2. A goalless draw with Oman in the final group match meant Iraq went into the quarter-finals as group leader.

Iraq continued their good run with captain Younis Mahmoud scoring two goals in the win against Vietnam. The team's confidence grew and through tenacious defending, controlled passing and fluid movement showed by the team, the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil saw the Iraqis broke Korean hearts by taking the game into extra time and penalties. With that, Jorvan Vieira basically gave a big 'up yours' to the Mensa members of FAM who sacked him, if we are not mistaken, way back in 2002.

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Up Yours FAM

We cannot imagine how it would be if FAM had trusted Vieira to carry on working with the U-20 team instead. These players would've been around 25 years old by now and the Pasukan Kebangsaan may or may have not endured such a torrid Asian Cup campaign. It is interesting to note that Vieira only had two months to prepare the team for the tournament. We at BorakBola applaud the hard work that Vieira and the Iraqi team has shown, despite the situation back home in Iraq. We watched the game live yesterday and we were impressed by the skills and composure shown by the Iraqi players. Respect!

Meanwhile, in Hanoi, Saudi Arabia despatched the holders with a convincing 3-2 win. It was a fine example of fast-flowing football shown by the two teams. Osim's Japan were again let down by their lack of firepower upfront and over-reliance on Takahara who was well marked. This seems to be a perennial problem for Japan despite the fact that they have quality midfield and defence players. Twice Japan had to come back with their goals coming from central defenders Abe and Nakazawa but Malek Maaz superb solo effort ended Japan's hope of a back to back triple crown.

And it will also be a Brazillian affair between the coaches as Saudi Arabia is also managed by Vieira's compatriot, Helios Dos Anjos. A serving of shish kebabs with churrascarrian touch perhaps?

Shelf any plans to eat at Tarboush, Naab or any Middle-Eastern eateries this Sunday evening. Most of them would probably be closed.

Asian Cup Heats Up

Despite the fact the Pasukan Kebangsaan is no longer in the tournament, BorakBola will continue to watch the games live at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil as we don't know when the country will host another big football competition like this.

Matchday 5 of the competition will see the semi-finals being played in Kuala Lumpur and Hanoi where Iraq will meet Korea at 6.20pm and holders Japan will play against Saudi Arabia at 8.20pm (all times local) respectively.

It's interesting to note who the coach of Iraq is, being a certain Señor Jorvan Viera.

The Brazillian is the same person that FAM sacked a few days before the Asian Youth Championship in Johor Bahru and was replaced by current Under-19 coach, K. Rajagopal. Viera has coached the Under-20 for 3 years before he was asked to leave after a dismal outing in one of the tournaments that the team participated. At this moment, we can't remember which tournament it was.

Meanwhile, we are expecting to see Japan go all the way to the final and lift the cup for the third consecutive time and we hope that BorakBola would be able to report the game all the way from Jakarta.

See you at Iraq v Korea tonight!

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Next Stop

The next assignment for the Malaysian national football team would have been the upcoming Merdeka Invitational Tournament (Pestabola Merdeka) from 20 - 29 August 2007. If the national players who played in the Asian Cup wanted to redeem their battered pride anytime this year, they would have to wait because FAM has announced that they will be sending the Under-23 team instead to the tournament.

Whether this is a knee-jerk reaction or not, only FAM would know. It is however a good excuse to send the U-23 team instead of the Seniors since it would mean the U-23 would get more matches and extra preparation for the upcoming SEA Games at Korat as FAM will be sending the same team under coach B. Sathianathan.

Malaysia is aiming nothing less than a gold medal at Korat. It is likely that the U-23 team going to Thailand and the Merdeka Invitational will consist of almost entirely the same players that played in the pre-Olympic football campaign earlier this year. (Was that the U-20 or U-21 squad? It's confusing for us as well but we know Sathianathan coaches both U-23 and U-21 teams). If we were to judge the squad from the pre-Olympic qualifiers itself, we atBorakBola are not too confident about the team but would support the team nevertheless.

Travelling Boys
We are nicknaming the U-23 as the Travelling Boys because their warm-up matches prior to the qualifiers included a three-match tour of South Africa, friendly matches in India and playing in the Hanoi Cup in Vietnam. They also had friendlies against local club sides and S-League club side Geylang United.

The Travelling Boys only manage to draw once against Syria and won one game against Hong Kong during the qualifiers. They lost the remaining matches. On Sathianathan defence, he only had a limited time to work with the boys as he was caught in a situation of club/state vs country for the players.

Before the Merdeka Invitational, the team would leave for Slovakia for a two-week stint from Aug 1-15 where they will play some test matches against club sides there. These will include the Slovakian Under-22 side and First Division teams.

Why Slovakia? Is it because it is cheaper? Is it because they have better facilities? Do they have better teams? And the next three assignments are competitions in hot and humid climate. Does FAM blindly approve all these overseas 'training stints'?

Anyway, in September, the Travelling Boys will then go to Myanmar to participate in the Challenge Cup.

The Coach
Sathianathan had been an assistant to previous national team coaches Hatem Souissi and Allan Harris. He was also the person that FAM sent to Germany to watch or observe (whatever you want to call it) the 2006 World Cup and apparently, has presented a paper on the "Malaysia World Cup Dream. BorakBola would very much like to read that paper.

Coach Sathianathan has called up 33 players for centralised training at Wisma FAM. They include Syed Adney, Norfarhan Mohd, Poster Boy and Safee Sali, among others.

A Malaysian In The EPL?

Mr Soon-To-Quit Secretary-General announced today that the Olympic Squad and Selangor goalkeeper, Liverpool-born Syed Adney Syed Hussain will undergo trials with English clubs Darlington FC and Middlesborough next month.

The trials with the second division club will be for 8 days while trials with Premiership outfit 'Boro will be for 4 days. This will be the first time that a Malaysian player have been offered to undergo trials with English clubs, according to FAM.

BorakBola thinks that this will be an excellent opportunity for Syed Adney to gain valuable experience and exposure. We have only seen him play once during the Olympic qualifiers and one or two matches for Selangor and we have yet to see his true potential. However, his height is a great asset and he is indeed a good hope for the future. In anyways there's always room for improvement so we'll have to wait and see. Although we must add here that we hope that Syed Adney would put on some mass (unless he's going for that Van Der Sar route) and hopefully, if he is selected to join any of the English teams, we expect to see a top player manning the Malaysian goal in 2 - 3 years time.

Darlington and Boro shouldn't worry too much about working permit since Syed Adney is English-born, eh?

Good luck from BorakBola!

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More Pies Please

Boro trials for Syed Adney

PETALING JAYA: National rookie goalkeeper Syed Adney Syed Hussein (pic) is game for the big time.

The lanky Selangor custodian, who will turn 21 in November, has set his sights on playing in the English Premier League. He will get his first big break when he attends trials with Middlesbrough next month.

“I was not selected for the recent Asian Cup campaign because I was recovering from injury. But I am ready for the challenge in the EPL,” said Syed Adney yesterday.

He said that an agent from the United States had arranged for the trials.

Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary, said it was refreshing to see a youngster from Malaysia getting a shot in the EPL.

“It will go down in the history books if he gets to play in the EPL,” said Dr Ibrahim, adding the FAM will sponsor the player’s trip to England.

Besides Middlesbrough, Syed Adney will also be attending trials with Second Division outfit Darlington FC.

“I am so happy to get the trials. And I am confident of getting a stint in England. If I get it I am going to stay there,” said Syed Adney, who played for the national team in the Doha Asian Games last year.

“I was born in Liverpool and my dream is to play for the Reds,” added the six-foot-two goalkeeper who returned to Malaysia with his parents at the age of eight.
Taken from The Star

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Interview with the Sports Minister

Here are parts of the interview between the News Straits Times and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said. We reproduce here what was said with regards to FAM and football in this country.

"If I had my way, many decisions about athletes will be different, but as you know, government interference is not allowed in national associations. We don’t have 100 per cent say.

In the case of FAM (Football Association of Malaysia), there has been a public outcry and the Cabinet is also very disappointed but if FAM does not want to change, then nothing in the world can change FAM, because we are not part of FAM.

Q: What should FAM do to revive football, and do you think they can do it?

A: The disappointment with football is there was no urgency and spirit in the players (in the Asian Cup).

People are asking what is wrong with them. They were representing Malaysia They should have played with more pride. The Indonesian media praised their team despite losing, because there was fighting spirit. With the funding and support that the government is giving, this shouldn’t be the case.

But I bet you FAM will have 1,000 reasons why they failed, and what really makes the public very disappointed is that no one is feeling guilty about losing, and that is what really hurts.

The public outcry shows that the public is really disgusted with football.

If you look at badminton and squash, they go down and they come up again. They win today, they lose tomorrow, but unfortunately football loses consistently.

But because of Fifa regulations, we can only support but can’t intervene and everyone says maybe football must be taken over 100 per cent by the government, maybe football should be run by strong personalities, good managers.

It’s all up to FAM. We are calling them for the Cabinet Committee meeting on July 31. We are trying to see how we can help them.

I don’t want to be in a position that the eight-core sports programme has to drop football.

Q: Millions are being spent by the government. How long do you see this continuing?

A: If the rating system is accepted well, and if associations and the public understand that, I think the whole idea of subsidising associations will see a new phase in Malaysian sports and that is what we are hoping for.

Right now if you pull anything, it’s World War Three, but if you make them understand, when there is KPI (Key Performance Indicator), then I have achieved the objective. I would like see that in future, we only communicate with those who are high up in results."

God Help Us

If King Yob is chosen, then that's it for Malaysian football.

Jostling begins in FAM

JOHOR BARU: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) congress will only be held in September but the fight for the posts in the association has already started.

And sadly for fans, who have been clamouring for change, most of those doing the jostling are the old faces.

Deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had resigned from all positions in the association and secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad will step down when his two-year term expires next month.

And one of those eyeing the seat vacated by the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang is incumbent vice-president Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin, who is also the FAM competitions committee chairman. He, of all people, has to take the blame for this season's messy M-League.

When news that Raja Ahmad, who is also a member of Parliament, had enlisted the help of his competitions committee members to lobby for him, those outside his camp sprang into action.

“Yes. We had a meeting in Shah Alam (recently). It was a hurriedly arranged meeting after learning that Raja Ahmad has made known his intentions to go for the vacant number two post. We are not happy with that for several reasons.

“There is a lot of unhappiness in the states over the manner in which the competitions committee handled things this season. Each time we complained, we were told that it was the council's decision. But we believe it was more of a “one-man decision”.

“This year's M-League is a big mess. It has been a bitter lesson for us and it is time we pick only those who can work - this is our secret pact,” said one official.

Former FAM vice-president Datuk Suleiman Mohd Noor, meanwhile, has called on FAM not to handle national teams any more. Instead, he said, a corporation consisting of sport-minded people, and headed by the Prime Minister, should be set up “to move football back to its original respectable level.”

“There are still many football brains that are capable of bringing back the shine to the game. Give them the due recognition. Stop the politicking for the sake of the sport,” said Suleiman, a former national manager
Taken from The Star

Friday, 20 July 2007

Teong Kim says sad state of affairs due to lack of infrastructure

Friday July 20, 2007

Teong Kim says sad state of affairs due to lack of infrastructure


PETALING JAYA: Former international Lim Teong Kim is not surprised at all over the sad state of affairs in Malaysian football.

The assistant coach of Bayern Munich Under-19 football team said that the dismal showing of the national team in the Asian Cup Finals was expected and the lack of infrastructure had hindered the growth of the game in the country.

“Bayern Munich are the top club in Germany. We have a very good infrastructure – five training fields and more coming up soon,” said Teong Kim, who is here to check out the facilities for the club's participation in the Champions Youth Cup (CYC), which kicks off on Aug 8.

Bayern Munich are in Group D and their matches against Malaysia, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven will be played in Kuching.

“We have a complete infrastructure to cater for the professional team and also the youth teams. In fact, we have 11 youth teams in age-group between eight and 23. The other clubs in the Bundesliga also have a similar set-up.”

In the Finals, Malaysia lost all three matches in Group C. They were thrashed by China (1-5) and Uzbekistan (0-5) and were beaten 0-2 by Iran.

The 44-year-old Teong Kim said it was not fair to put the blame on the team when changes were not made to check the rot in the system.

He added that he had left the country for almost two decades but he had not seen changes or concerted efforts to develop the game, even in his home state Malacca where he started out playing for at the age of 17.

“When football is still the same here after so many years, how can we expect to see any changes to the game or standard? Why criticise the present batch of players and keep banging them on their heads for failures when no one cares for the development of the game,” he said.

“Football is a national agenda. I feel that every state should have an ideal infrastructure to develop the game.

“I have been in Bayern Munich for eight years now. Even the eight-year-old players travel extensively to play in invitational tournaments to gain experience. There are eight professional coaches at the youth level and players get plenty of exposure.

“The facilities are well-equipped with dressing rooms, rehabilitation rooms, physiotherapy, sauna and relaxation rooms.

“In Germany, we have technical problems but no infrastructure problems. If there are no fields how can the coaches get to work?

“The National Sports School in Bukit Jalil alone is not good enough. State FAs must get their infrastructure in place otherwise they cannot expect to produce results.

“I am just trying to pass my experience and knowledge learnt in Bayern Munich. It is difficult to see success if changes are not made. There is a saying in Germany – changes bring prosperity, contentment brings complacency.”

Teong Kim was a member of the national team who won the gold medal in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in 1989. That was the last time the national senior team emerged as the champions of the regional international tournament.

He added that there was no point in coaxing players to ply their trade abroad if they had no desire to go in the first place.

“I left to play in the Bundesliga in 1988 because I had the desire to do it,” said Teong Kim, who played for Division Two club Hertha Berlin
Taken from The Star

Here Comes The Future

Starting today, BorakBola will try to include more news from the junior and the youth teams.

One team, the National Under-15, flew to England this week to take part in an 'international tournament' later this month. This may seem like a good exposure for the young boys coached by Aminuddin Hussin.

Can someone please inform us at BorakBola, who in the blazes is Aminuddin Hussin?

Anyway, other than the tournament, BorakBola suspects that the U15 boys are being made political pawns and guinea pigs in one - because they will be training at the controversial Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre in Brickendonbury. Reports by The Sun earlier this week has stated that the centre itself is not ready in terms of facilities and accommodation and the matter is still grey - have the training centre been approved by the cabinet and FAM?

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The batch of U15 lads, which by the way, are represented by the Bukit Jalil Sport School, left for England on the 15th of July before taking part in the age-group competition starting on 29th July, 2007 and they will remain in England until the first week of August.

The tournament which will see 12 teams taking part will be from 29th July, 2007 until 5th August, 2007.

Malaysia are in Group C up against Beaconsfield FC (Berkshire), Pinnacle Youth (London) and Rorsjostaden (Sweden).

Group A are Eldon Celtic (Berkshire), Cobham FC (Surrey), Actual Soccer (London) and Soccer Pro (Portugal) while Group B are Links FC (Surrey), Brunswick Youth (London), Bidvest Wits JFC (South Africa) and CD Guadiaro (SPAIN).


Muhammad Fuad Mamat, Muhd Sukuri Mohd Rahim, Muhd Shaifullah Zainal, Shahrul Mohd Saad, Mohd Haizrul Asmiel Shamsul, Goh Jung Sern, Hazril Here, Mohd Nizam Mohd Yusri, Mohamad Fandi Othman, Sabri Sahar, Muhammad Nazrul Nakhaie Mohd Noor, Muhd Aminuddin Azmi, Zulfadhli Mohamed, Gary Steven Robbat, Iffi Afinaz Ismail, Muhamad Bukhari Idris, Mohd Alif Fadhil Ismail, Saiful Ridzuwan Selamat, D. Saarvindran, Mohamad Amer Saidin, Abdullah Am Ahmad, Mohamad Hakim Zainol.


29th July: BUKIT JALIL SPORTS SCHOOL vs Pinnacle Youth (London)

31st July: Beaconsfield vs BUKIT JALIL SPORTS SCHOOL

3rd August: Rorsjostaden IF vs BUKIT JALIL SPORTS SCHOOL

4th August: Quarter-finals

5th August: Semi-Finals/Final

Under-15 Squad To Train In Brickendonbury

KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 (Bernama) -- The development of the national youth squad will concentrate on efforts to build up the players' personality, exposure to training abroad and academic knowledge, said the Director of the National Sports Institute, Datuk Dr Ramlan Abd Aziz.

"Besides the focus on the aspect of training in football, emphasis will also be given to the academic and personality aspects. We want our young players who will be future professionals to have strong personality," he said.

He disclosed this at a press conference on the training session for the Under-15 squad at the High Performance Training Centre at Brickendonbury, London from July 16 to Aug 8.

Besides undergoing training there, the squad under the guidance of Aminuddin Hussin will also participate in the Arsenal International Challenge.

The national Under-15 football squad will be the second group from the National Sports Council's (NSC) High Performance Sports Program for football to undergo training at the centre.

Earlier, the Under-16 football team had been sent to the same centre for training in May.

Dr Ramlan said that in view of their young age and that they were still schooling, the training session at Brickendonbury also emphasised on the aspect of education. As such, several teachers would also accompany them on their trip to London.

Meanwhile, the Football Association of Malaysia's (FAM) technical director Robert Albert noted that the boys would have the opportunity of a training session at the Arsenal Academy.

"Our intention of bringing the boys to London is to give them an international exposure since there are no major tournaments for them in the meantime here.

"At the Arsenal Academy, they will be exposed to the highest training level and the chance to use the facilities," said Albert.

The squad comprising 22 players, four officials and three teachers will leave for London on Sunday.
Taken from BERNAMA

Witchhunt and which one is which?

More heads are rolling. According to news report today, the puppetmasters holding the strings at FAM have sacked the manager and two members of the technical team of the Pasukan Kebangsaan. Datuk Anifah Aman and coaches Nasir Yusof and Lim Chuan Chin were asked to resign by the national football body.

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Team Manager Datuk Anifah Aman (in yellow), Nasir Yusof and Lim Chuan Chin (behind Norizan)

The reports stated that like coach Norizan Bakar, all three were asked to leave their positions immediately after the end of the Asian Cup campaign. It was also reported that all four were informed of the news right before the National Team took the field for the final group game against Iran. If this is true, it only goes to show the level of unprofessionalism on FAM's part.

Nasir Yusof, is a former national player, and as some may recall, one of the few capable playmakers that ever wore the national jersey. He has been one of the assistant coaches of the national squad since 2004 under Bertalan Bicskei.

Chuan Chin, former national goalkeeper and brother to Bayern Munich's youth squad coach, Lim Teong Kim, served as the goalkeeping coach for the team.

Which means that FAM would need to act quickly to reassemble the team in preparation for the upcoming Merdeka Invitational Tournament. However, it was also reported in The Star today that one of the deputies in FAM denied that Norizan has been sacked. So what is going on here?

FAM: Norizan is still the national coach

PETALING JAYA: FA of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Datuk Redzuan Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad clarified yesterday that national coach Norizan Bakar had not been sacked and would have to serve out his contract, which expires in September.

Redzuan said that he was surprised to see media reports on the sacking of Norizan and the coach had misinterpreted the information given to him by team manager Datuk Anifah Aman on the eve of the Asian Cup Finals match against Iran on Tuesday.

“There has been total confusion. We have not sacked the coach. The message passed to Norizan that the Asian Cup would be his last assignment with the national team does not mean that he is sacked,” said Redzuan.

“Yes, we have the Merdeka Tournament next month. But there is a possibility that the SEA Games Under-23 squad under B. Sathianathan will play in the tournament. A decision has not been made yet.

“The FAM president, Sultan Ahmad Shah, has also made it clear that he wanted the manager and coach to hand in their reports on the Asian Cup by this week for them to conduct an inquiry. How can we sack the coach before the inquiry?”

Norizan in response to questions about his future with the national team at a post-match conference after Malaysia were beaten 0-2 by Iran in their final Group C fixture on Wednesday, said that he had been told by the team management to relinquish his duties immediately after the match.

“I have to accept this because hiring and firing are all part and parcel of the job. I understand, it's all about results when you assume duties with the national senior team ... life goes on,” said Norizan.

On what he would do next, Norizan said: “I will make a decision later. I am a teacher by profession. Just because my students fail does it mean that I have to stop teaching?”

The other coaches in the team, assistant Nasir Yusof and goalkeeper trainer Lim Chuan Chin, have also been told to go. They have contracts that run until the end of the year.

In other Group C matches, Malaysia went down to heavy defeats by China (1-5) and Uzbekistan (0-5). It resulted in a public outcry for the resignation of the top brass in the FAM.

And the FAM deputy president, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah quit all his posts in the association on Sunday. But his father, who is the president, said that he was no quitter and would continue to fight to raise the standard of Malaysian football, which has been in the doldrums for a long, long time.

The reality is that Malaysia still do not have a team to compete in a tournament of Asian Cup quality. Playing by virtue of being hosts in these Finals had done more harm than good to Malaysian football.
Taken from The Star

Thursday, 19 July 2007

First Blood - Norizan Sacked

It was bound to happen. Here's an example how things might LOOK like it will change, but it won't. Believe us when we say as long as the same people stay in power in FAM, things will continue in a vicious cycle. It has been the same kind of reaction after every 'disastrous' National Team campaign - SEA Games, Merdeka Invitational, World Cup qualifying etc etc. Someone will have to take the blame and deflect the actual fault by the management of FAM. Someone have be made the fall guy. Someone have to be seen as the bad guy or the devil. And it is always the coach who will be 'sacked' and the team disbanded.

BorakBola will state once again (and again and again) - SACK THE ENTIRE FAM MANAGEMENT. Rehire only those who have the heart, passion, commitment and professionalism to run the game. Prevent politicians from going for any top post. We are against people like Shahidan Kassim, who already have other posts in other sports association. If you are an MP, concentrate of your day job and take care of your rakyat. Rebuilding the state of football in the country is a full time job. If not the case of you WANT to do it, or HAVE to do it. Its whether you CAN do it or not.

Hire real businessmen (or women) to run the financial aspects of the game. Appoint a proper PR agency if needed to handle communication and day to day PR events. Hire proper football mindness people at the technical level. Perhaps do a 'juggling' test. If they can't play or kick a ball properly, then go home. Heck, even Bolivia's President, Evo Morales can play. At 4,000 m above sea level nevertheless!

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Senor Morales. No Problemo!

If readers would recall, BorakBola wrote somewhere in the blog that Norizan's contract is up after the Asian Cup anyways, so in truth this can be considered as 'contract not extended'.

Norizan axed as Malaysia coach

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KUALA LUMPUR - Norizan Bakar has been sensationally axed by Malaysia’s football authorities despite his side earning plaudits galore during a narrow 2-0 AFC Asian Cup defeat to Iran on Wednesday.

An emotional Norizan told reporters that he had been told of the decision before the Iran match, an encounter that followed a 5-1 defeat against China as well as a 5-0 drubbing by Uzbekistan, results that were clearly beyond the pale for those in power at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

The former Perlis and Penang boss, whilst philosophical about the news, was adamant that he had been poorly treated.

“I have been told by the FAM that my assignment as national team coach has come to an end at the Asian Cup,” the 46-year-old said.

“I was told prior to the Iran match and I must say that I think the decision is unfair as I have always tried my level best to achieve things with the personnel that I have at my disposal.

“You know, my training is as a teacher and I know full well that when a student fails I do not then immediately have to stop teaching. Having said that, this is football. In coaching there will always be hiring and firing and football is all about results and because of that I have to accept the decision.

“There now have to be solutions found to the problems. There were definitely problems in terms of our preparation for this tournament. Problems though are meant to be solved."

Despite finishing bottom of Group C, Malaysia’s performance against the might of group winners Iran, especially in the face of recent criticism, delighted the departing Norizan.

“With all the criticism and all the humiliation thee has been, the morale of the players was very low going into this match, in fact it was going from bad to worse. I therefore have to take my hat of to them. They showed real guts in the way they played," he said.

“I suppose nobody wants to be criticised. It was very hard for the players to play here. I have to say that the players showed their true selves tonight in terms of team spirit and togetherness.”

Norizan also revealed that his player’s much improved display was proof that the Malaysian team needed to be supported even if they continue, for the time being at least, to struggle against the big hitters of world football.

“A game like we had tonight shows that Malaysia needs to be supported. After the two looses and all the criticism the players were very down. But they bounced back," he added.

“Look we have nothing to lose by playing these bigger teams. We must learn from our experiences,” he added before leaving to a standing ovation."
Taken from PA Sport


Some readers by now would probably be fed-up with the constant comparison with our neighbours especially between FAM and PSSI (Persatuan SepakBola Seluruh Indonesia). BorakBola will make no apologies for this as the main reason we always compare the state of national football in this country with that of Indonesia is because we believe that funds-wise, they should be around the same, if not less than the money the government injects into sports in this country. Plus because physically, they are almost the same and we speak the same language. BorakBola have been following the performance of the Timnas (Tim Nasional) eversince their disastrous AFF outing under Peter Withe. BorakBola believes, that among the countries that Malaysia should learn from would be Indonesia as well, because they are undergoing a rebuilding process for the national team, who's own performance have slumped over the year.

Judging from this year's Asian Cup, Indonesia is looking to come back big in ASEAN. Although like Thailand the future is still uncertain as youth football development is not as strong in these countries as compared to say, Singapore. Expect them to provide a decent match against the soon to be assembled MyTeam 2.

Two things that BorakBola would like to highlight here. Firstly, how information are well distributed and easily accessed from the PSSI website. We admit, they are far from perfect (especially information and handling of tickets sales). But unlike in Malaysia where we were unaware until the first match who was wearing what number in the Pasukan Kebangsaan, the Indonesian were already putting up on their website the numbers the players will be using for the Asian Cup campaign. Another example is how in the last group match against Korea, the Indonesian team was wearing their away white kit for the first time. It wasn't really a surprise that the whole Gelora Bung Karno stadium was white as snow as well when previously it was a sea of red for two consecutive games. Will we in Malaysia ever be this organised? Go and visit the FAM site again and think. And see if the slowpokes at FAM can beat the Indons with updates as this

A second example of how PSSI got it right is that despite the busy schedule the Timnas have with training, they managed to (twice) slot in time to visit orphanages around Jakarta and handing out goodies to the children. What an experience for these kids to be able to see and meet their heroes in real life. That is how you inspire future heroes. Search the PSSI website for full stories.

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Timnas captain Ponaryo Astaman handing out gifts to orphans in Jakarta

What did the Malaysian team do before the first match?

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We cut cakes.

You don't need to go as far as Highbury or Brickendonbury to improve the game. Just look within ASEAN itself.

Of Missing People and Crap AFC Planning

This is what the President of FAM answered when MailSport of The Malay Mail interviewed him a few days back:

MailSport: Will Tuanku watch the match against Iran on Wednesday (tomorrow)?

FAM President: That’s a good idea. I will try. I’m also busy with my State, but I will try.

The full length of the interview can be read Here

BorakBola was lucky enough to get good seats for yesterday's Malaysia v Iran match (thanks Hakim!), which was located right next to the VIP and VVIP seating area.

So near that BorakBola's crew managed to 'remind' - okay shouted - to the Match Commissioner for yesterday's game to stop with this nonsense by the AFC to have a match referee from same region as the playing teams. Yesterday's referee is Mr Muhsen Basma from SYRIA, with the Linesmen and Fourth Official from SYRIA and SAUDI ARABIA respectively. Oh, did BorakBola mention that the Match Commissioner is from LEBANON? It's like an OIC Conference yesterday at Bukit Jalil. Some calls yesterday were a bit dodgy

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"Ya, after game dinner tonight will be at Tarboush, no problem" - Images by Getty Images

Anyway, looking over to the VVIP area, there was NO Malaysian officials or VVIP or VIP that was seated in the posh, red carpetted area reserved for VVIPs. The President of FAM was not there, although this is understandable because of the tragedy of the Nuri helicopter crash in his state. But where are the rest? Not even one Minister. Where was the Sport Minister? You'd think Mr I Want All The Sports Association Posts Perlis MB would be there as well to back up his 'interest' for positions in the national football body but he wasn't there too. We know that Datuk Anifah Aman was there, perhaps the other perpetually missing in action Deputy or Vice Presidents are around the stadium but they weren't seated in the VVIP area.

Our point? It shows that talk is cheap. Everyone's out to sharpen their knives but if you really cared about the National Team, you'd turn up and show your support yesterday. One of the sad fact besetting this football 'crisis' in our country is that nobody who are somebody really cared. Like we highlighted before, SBY was at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium showing his support for the Timnas. Prior to that SBY visited the team at their hotel to meet with the players while Jusuf Kalla twice visited the team during training sessions.

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Spot the President

We are sure that if the now called-off match by Manchester United would have gone on as planned, the VVIP areas would be filled with various ministers and their families - all decked in the red and white of Manchester instead of the yellow and black of Malaysia.

BorakBola says, those with grandiose views who wants a position in FAM should not be allowed to even consider applying for the job, but then again, who would we really turn to now? Who will actually MAKE the call and MAKE things happen?

Report Card: Asian Cup

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With the conclusion of group matches for the 2007 AFC Asian Cup yesterday, Malaysia finishes the campaign with three losses, conceding 12 goals and scoring only one goal in the process. This means that Malaysia failed to pick-up any points, making it technically the last placed team among the 16 nations that participated in this year's tournament. Not only Malaysia is the only host among the four that failed to collect any points, it is also the first time in the tournament's history that a host nation has failed to do so. Oman and Qatar are the next teams above Malaysia, each picking up 2 points each from two draws.

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In comparison, Vietnam is still in the competition, playing in the quarterfinals against Iraq, after finishing second in their group. Thailand and Indonesia both narrowly misses the cut, with the Thais losing out to Australia by virtue of head to head result despite sharing the same points while Indonesia's lost to Korea means the Koreans progressed by having one point more.

Vietnam's aim for the tournament was to be the highest ranked South-East Asian team and it look's like they have achieved this.

MATCH REPORT: Malaysia v Iran (Asian Cup)

Iran defeat brave Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR - A 29th minute penalty from Javad Nekounam coupled with a second half goal from Andranik Teymourian helped a struggling Iran secure a place in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup by narrowly beating resilient co-hosts Malaysia 2-0 on Wednesday night

Needing to win convincingly in order to assure themselves of top spot in Group C and claim a place in the tournament’s knockout phase, Iran were made to work all the way by a heroic Malaysian outfit.

Despite constantly struggling to find a way past Malaysia’s massed ranks, Uzbekistan’s 3-0 victory over China assured the Iranians of pole position and they now face the prospect of a last eight meeting with Korea Republic in Kuala Lumpur.

Iranian players and officials celebrated wildly at the final whistle, whilst Malaysian heads were held high, with some pride restored following the South East Asian outfit’s 5-1 loss to China and the 5-0 drubbing they suffered at the hands of Uzbekistan.

Having called for a heroic rearguard action, Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar, who kicked off with six recognised defenders in his starting 11, will have been delighted with his charges’ overall resilience, although possibly
less pleased with the time and space afforded to Vahid Hashemian whose close-range ninth minute shot from Teymourian’s cross was superbly turned onto his bar and away to safety by Malaysia goalkeeper Azizon Kadir.

Three minutes later and Azizon was in the thick of things again as he dived to deflect a fiercely struck Reza Enayati shot onto his right hand post.

Despite their early dominance, Iran failed to find a way through the home side’s massed defence and nearly conceded themselves when Aidil Radzak burst through a static Iranian backline, but the youngster’s shot was deflected safely into the arms of Iran stopper Hassan Roudbarian.

The breakthrough came after 29 minutes. Ali Karimi’s well timed run into the Malaysian box was checked illegally by Hussain Khaironissam according to referee Muhsen Basma. Javad Nekounam, scorer of Iran’s equaliser against China in a 2-2 draw, tucked away the resulting penalty with ease.

The Malaysian woodwork was rattled again only moments later when Rahman Rezaei’s delicate headed cross was thumped against the bar by Hashemian.

Malaysia came close to equalising after 44 minutes when Shukor Adan’s thrusting run down the right flank saw him find space to fire in a shot that brought the best out of Roudbarian to send the home team into the break in a buoyant mood.

With Malaysia continuing to fight for every blade of the Bukit Jalil National Stadium turf, Iran had to wait until the 58th minute for their first serious attempt of the half, Teymourian’s effort being tipped away acrobatically by Azizon.

Substitute Rassoul Khatibi duly headed horribly wide from only five yards before he was booked for attempting to win a penalty with a dramatic dive.

A long range pile driver from Hashemian was then gathered well by Azizon as Malaysian bodies continued to thwart Iran, a terrific team spirit that was epitomised in the 71st minute as Hamzani Omar reacted brilliantly to deny Khatibi a clear attempt on goal.

Javad Kazemian’s lobbed effort on 75 minutes looped agonisingly wide before Iran’s superior possession was turned into something more tangible three minutes later when Teymourian converted a Mehdi Mahdavikia pass with unerring accuracy to beat Azizon at his near post.

Karimi’s last gasp shot was turned onto the bar by Azizon, the save proved to be the last meaningful action of a game which Iran may have won but from which Malaysia emerged with plaudits galore.
Taken from PA Sport

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

We Need A Time-Travelling Machine!!!

An observation made by a Japanese technical assistant who was in Bukit Jalil for Malaysia’s second match against Uzbekistan, said: "Malaysia is 20 years behind Europe and 10 years behind Asia."


It was only a matter of time before debates in Parliament caught up with the Malaysian football 'crisis'

Dewan Negara: 'Football officials have lost the plot'

A SENATOR has joined the chorus of criticism against the Football Association of Malaysia, holding it responsible for the pathetic state of Malaysian football.

Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi suggested that the FAM leadership meet the national women’s team on the field and if the FAM side lost, all should resign.

He raised this issue while asking a supplementary question about the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry’s 50th Merdeka celebration.

"If FAM officials lose, it is best they all give up their positions and move on. This way, better candidates can take over."

Puad said that he was not in the habit of picking on people but football was in a state of shambles and could no longer play a role in uniting Malaysians.
"It used to unite Malaysians, irrespective of race, religion, colour, age or station in life. Now that is over."

Puad said one of the reasons for the national team’s dismal performance, apart from poor leadership, was a lack of patriotism and competitive spirit among the players.

"In the early days of independence, sheer patriotism drove us to great heights," he said.

The situation had reached such pathetic levels that even the long-suffering public had given up.

He called on the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry to produce a documentary chronicling the success of the national teams over the decades.

"This should inspire the current crop of players to improve their game," Puad added.

Deputy Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Wong Kam Hoong said the nation’s achievement in the sporting arena should not be confined to a single sport.

Wong said Malaysians excelled in squash, badminton and bowling and the achievements were a source of pride for the country.

"We are making waves and some of the players are world champions," he said trying to play down football’s failure.

Puad later said he was articulating the frustration of the football-loving public.

Football received a huge grant but those in charge were unable to produce results, leaving fans frustrated.
Taken from the New Straits Times

Famous Last Words?

At times, BorakBola just think some Malaysian players are too manja (Pampered). You played badly, people criticise you, simple. Professionals would lift their heads and aim to improve and be better and to not repeat the same mistakes. Only children would go home and cry. You don't need psychologists to deal with this.

Are we men or little kids?

Norizan hits back at critics

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar has countered the criticism of his side’s AFC Asian Cup campaign with defiance ahead of the co-hosts’ final Group C game against Iran on Wednesday.

Malaysia’s opening 5-1 defeat to China was swiftly followed by an equally humiliating 5-0 loss at the hands of Uzbekistan, results that have led to the local press becoming increasingly hostile and the resignation of one of the country’s top football officials.

Despite Malaysia’s less than impressive displays, their first at an Asian Cup for 27 years, Norizan was adamant that he was in no mood to shirk his responsibilities.

“This tournament has brought its ups and downs but I do not want to run away from my responsibilities,” said the former Perlis and Penang boss.

“With all that is happening around us, with all the criticism and humiliation, even the best psychologists would struggle to help our team.

“I can see that team morale is quite low at the moment after the two defeats, and I have said that we must approach the Iran game in the right manner.

“I have just told the players that the criticism is part and parcel of football and that what is happening here at he Asian Cup can only help us in the future.”

Outplayed in their first two matches, Norizan also revealed the scale of his side’s defeats thus far will dictate how Malaysia line-up against an Iran side which needs a sizeable win to assure themselves of top spot in the group.

“Having seen them play, we know that Iran are a good team and from the beginning we have been assessing how we should approach the game,” said Norizan.

“We have to expect that the Iran side will be going all out against us. Our approach will therefore have to be a defensive one tomorrow. There will be changes to our starting line-up, in fact, there have to be changes.”

Keen for history not to repeat itself, Norizan insisted that the game at Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil National Stadium will be a question of damage limitation rather than a realistic chance for Malaysia to grab even a point.

“As you saw in the two games that we lost against China and Uzbekistan, when we tried to attack we were left very exposed at the back,” he added.

“Everyone is expecting Iran to win, so we have to be realistic. They need a big win and so therefore we have to try and stop them doing that by limiting the number of goals they score.”
Taken from AFC Asian Cup website

Norizan Wants Players to Dig In

Reeling after two heavy defeats, Malaysian coach Norizan Bakar is calling on his players to rise above all the chaos and criticism and claw back some pride against Iran in their final Asian Cup Group C on Wednesday.

Hammered 5-1 by China in their opening game last week, the co-hosts were humiliated 5-0 by Uzbekistan on Saturday.
Those one-sided results plunged Malaysian soccer into turmoil, with the Football Association of Malaysia's deputy president resigning on Sunday and sports leaders calling for others to follow suit.

Norizan, who has shouldered much of the blame, remains defiant, however.

'I'm only thinking about the match against Iran,' he told journalists on Tuesday. 'With all the criticism and humiliation, not even the best psychologist can help the team.

'I just told the players to face it and maybe it will make us stronger. We have to be realistic against Iran and hope we don't concede too many goals.'

Malaysia have already been eliminated from the Asian Cup. Iran beat Uzbekistan 2-1 in their opener and then drew 2-2 with China. Victory would ensure them a place in the quarter-finals.
Taken from Soccernet


Tonight the National Stadium at Bukit Jalil will see the final match for the host, Malaysia versus the second-highest ranked team in Asia and three times winner, Iran. After losing with big margins in the first two games (1-5 to China and 0-5 to Uzbekistan), the prospect is not good. Morale in the Malaysian camp is already low the with the two humiliating defeats, the fans and critics have been baying for blood and the national football body has already been shaken by the resignation of the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, after over 20 years in FAM.

The turnout will definitely be low tonight compared to the first two games. Do not be surprised that the game tonight will only be witnessed by a few hard-core and hopeful local fans, fans who are there just to see the national team beaten convincingly and with big margins and Iranian fans.

If Malaysia's expecting mercy from the Iranians, they will have to look elsewhere as Iran is in no mood as they drew with China in their last game after beating Uzbekistan 2-1 and they would want to score as much, if not more than China in order to top the group. (Qualifications in the Asian Cup is based on head to head results followed by goal differences, with the draw between China and Iran, goal differences will be the key should China manage to beat Uzbekistan).

Don't go to the stadium tonight if you have a weak heart.

Iran will have top players plying their trade in Europe at their disposal. Led by the experienced former Asian Player of the Year Ali Karimi, (recently of Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich), they will also have Andranik Teymourian and Javad Nekounam in midfield (Bolton Wanderers and Osasuna respectively). Iran topped their group in during qualifications in a group which also included Korea.
Players to watch: Javad Nekounam - has already scored a goal in the last game against China

Nothing much to add really. Malaysia already cancelled one training session this week and pyschologically the players are at the lowest ebb. Damage limitation is what the team should aim for although Malaysia will need to play with high spirit and determination to redeem whatever pride's left. Whatever it is, tonight we can see who among the national players are real men and can rise from the ashes. We are hoping that Indra would lead the attack alongside Akmal and we hope Shukor Adan should NOT start.
Players to watch: The strikers. Akmal and Indra

Football: Iran all set to go for big win against Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Three-time winners Iran are not expected to show mercy against a demoralised and down-and-out Malaysia in their final Group C fixture in the Asian Cup Finals at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tonight.

Coach Norizan Bakar is aware that Iran may gun for a high-scoring victory against his boys, who crashed to humiliating defeats by China (1-5) and Uzbekistan (0-5).

The results led to a public outcry for the resignation of the top brass in the FA of Malaysia (FAM) and Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah quit as the deputy president on Sunday.

“We have to accept reality ... life goes on for the boys and me,” said Norizan at a pre-match conference at the team hotel here yesterday.

“We have no choice but to take a defensive approach against a strong attacking side like Iran. We have to be compact at the back and hope for the best.”

Team manager Datuk Anifah Aman said that there was not much they could do and even if they had the best coaches, they would not be able to get the desired results.

“Let’s face facts ... we do not have the material,” he said.

Iran coach Amir Ghalenoei declared that their target was to finish on top of the group and he would not allow complacency to get to his side.

The group winners will remain in Malaysia for their quarter-final match and the runners-up travel to Jakarta.

Ghalenoei added that although they had seen Malaysia suffering two heavy defeats, they would not take their beleaguered opponents lightly.

“I have to say that we always respect our opponents and they include the Malaysian team,” he said.

“Malaysia have conceded many goals. Even so, we have to approach this game in the same way as we approached our matches against Uzbekistan and China.

“The result of this match is important. We will use all our key players against Malaysia because we prefer to stay in Malaysia where we have been made to feel very welcome. Our priority is to win the group.”

Iran and China are the joint leaders with four points each.

But China, who play against Uzbekistan in the other match at the Shah Alam Stadium, have a superior goal difference of +4 against a +1 for Iran.
Taken from The Star

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


On another note altogether, Borakbola would like to extend our condolences to the families and loved ones of the six crew of the Nuri helicopter which crashed near Genting Highlands last Friday. According to news report, the wreckage of the helicopter have finally been found, with all six perished in the crash. Our thoughts are with them.

BorakBola hopes that any influential person who reads this blog would be able to inform or persuade the Pasukan Kebangsaan to all wear black armbands in respect to the crew and that a one-minute silence can be observed before the match starts tomorrow evening.

No Turning Back - Tengku Abdullah

Its true Tuanku, we have had enough too.

Tengku Abdullah: I have done enough for Malaysian football

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KUANTAN: Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said he decided to quit as deputy president of the FAM after considering the need for "new people" to replace him.

Denying it had anything to do with the atrocious performance of the national team at the Asian Cup tournament, Tengku Abdullah said he had voiced his intention to step down since last year.

However, he hinted that negative public feedback on the declining standard of Malaysian football had, to a certain extent, influenced his decision.

"I have been with FAM for so long and feel that it’s time for new people (to take over).

"I am also receptive and understand the views from all quarters such as those voiced by the fans, supporters and critics. I have done my level best under the circumstances."
Tengku Abdullah was met after launching the state-level World Blood Donor Day celebrations at Indera Mahkota here yesterday.

"I would like to thank everybody. I think I had done enough (for Malaysian football) and now want to concentrate on something else."

His advice to the existing FAM officials and those who are to join them in future was for them to show full commitment towards improving the standard of Malaysian football.

"I do admit that time constraint was a factor which had prevented me from fully devoting myself (to the FAM)."

Tengku Abdullah ruled out the possibility of him making a U-turn over his resignation even if FAM officials pleaded with him.

"There is no need for anyone to coax me. They should instead concentrate on finding my replacement. I do not want any drama. Just let me spend some time on my own without having to talk about football."

Tengku Abdullah said he was still willing to assist FAM in the future if the association felt his views were needed.

"But if possible, I do not want to make any more public comment (on football). I have spent 23 years, which is almost half of my life, with football and I think that is enough."
Taken from the New Straits Times

Interview With The Sultan

After 23 years, you'd think someone would realise when his time is up. If after 23 years you are unable to 'turn it around', what does that say? With all due respect Your Highness, I hope there will changes in our lifetime, and not another 23 years.

Here's a very good interview by Rizal Hashim. Taken from The Malay Mail.

‘I’m not a quitter’
Massive overhaul, reforms and inquiries were some of the key words used as FA of Malaysia president Sultan Ahmad Shah vowed yesterday not to bow to public pressure in the wake of the national team’s atrocious performance in the ongoing 14th AFC Asian Cup.

Mailsport’s RIZAL HASHIM was at TUDM Subang to pose questions to the Pahang ruler.

Mailsport (MS): Is it true, Tuanku, that you intend to follow your son Tengku Abdullah ’s decision to quit FAM?

Sultan Ahmad Shah (SAS): No, I don’t intend to run away from my responsibilities. I’m not going to abandon ship. In fact, we promise to conduct an inquiry into the team’s performance in the Asian Cup. There will be changes. I will personally look into the issue and chair a committee that is tasked to discuss the future of Malaysia football.

MS: What are the drastic changes, Tuanku?

SAS: Not drastic. We will demand the coach (Norizan Bakar) and team manager Datuk Anifah Aman submit a detailed report immediately after the game against Iran (tomorrow). I have been keeping quiet because I have been away, attending to my son’s education, but people seemed to think that I do not know what has been happening .

MS: Tuanku’s thoughts on Tengku Abdullah ’s resignation.

SAS: It was breaking news to me. But he had informed me earlier of his intention to quit during the annual general meeting in September. If he’s happy, what can I do?

MS: The public has been baying for FAM’s blood, Tuanku.

SAS: When the team were preparing for the tournament, I was away. I did not watch the defeats to China and Uzbekistan. But I was upset, just like the fans. We were badly beaten. It was embarrassing. But I urge the public to continue supporting the team. The committee comprising myself, the deputy president (Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad), and vice-presidents (Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin Raja Omar and Datuk Anifah) will find new ways to push for reforms.

MS: What can we expect from the FAM Congress in September?

SAS: It is up to the delegates to nominate their candidates, who are the deputy presidents, or the vice-presidents. It’s their prerogative.

MS: What about Tuanku?

SAS: As I said, it’s up to the delegates, I’m ready, willing and able if they want me. I took over as president (from Tan Sri Hamzah Abu Samah) in 1984 and I made FAM a rich organisation. We gave out grants to the State FAs to keep the game alive.

MS: But today, the reality is different. FAM ’s main sponsor Telekom Malaysia pledge RM8.5 a year as opposed to Dunhill’s annual sponsorship of RM30 million those days.

SAS: We are still alive and well, strong physically and mentally. Like I said earlier, we are not going to run away from our responsibility. We are fighters and we will fight for betterment. Something concrete must be done.

MS: How does FAM intend to attract sponsors, Tuanku? And is it true FAM is scraping the bottom of the barrel?

SAS : We are not financially in dire straits. We have enough money to run our activities. As the finance committee chairman, I should know. Don’t worry. We know how to source for sponsorship. I can’t reveal to you how, but we have our ways.

MS: Is Tuanku satisfied with the way the FAM secretariat is administered daily?

SAS: I’m not there, so I wouldn’t know. The daily affairs, we leave it to the secretariat.

MS: The two previous general secretaries —Datuk Paul Mony Samuel and Datuk Dell Akbar Khan —would keep Tuanku informed on FAM’s daily matters. Is the current general secretary Datuk Seri Ibrahim Saad applying the same style?

SAS: Each has his own management style. Datuk Paul has his own, Datuk Dell his way and Datuk Seri Ibrahim, his way of doing things.

MS: Is it true that Ibrahim is resigning from his post, Tuanku?

SAS: He has written to me, asking us not to extend his contract which ends next month. I will write back to him. He has done a good job.

MS: The rakyat’s sentiments against FAM are hostile, Tuanku.

SAS: That’s normal. It comes with the territory. As president, I have to be receptive to constructive criticism. In life, we cannot expect bouquets all the time. When you are alive, nobody will praise you. When you die, there will only be good words for you. I don’t ask for praise, and I have always adopted an open policy with regard to constructive criticism.

MS: The team have been atrocious, Tuanku.

SAS: Yes, we created the semi-pro league to inject interest in the game, we wanted it to become an industry which will create jobs and livelihoods for many people.

Millions have been spent, and in return, we wanted the players to give something back. The returns have been poor. That is why we have to perform a general overhaul.

MS: Tuanku had indicated to quit FAM a few times before this.

SAS: That’s true. But I’m not going to leave if the issues are not resolved. I’m not a coward. I’m a fighter. I live by the maxim bertelingakan tempayan, berhatikan batu (ears of a martavan jar, heart of rock).

MS: Some say the journey to full recovery is long and an arduous one, Tuanku.

SAS: Naturally. The Malaysia Plan too has reached its ninth phase. It will take time.

MS: Would Tuanku agree if football is made a national agenda which will require the involvement of all parties?

SAS: When the time comes, we have to think about it. FAM has its own mechanism to deal with it. But Malaysia has lots of intelligent people, men and women who are active in sports. If they want to do it, by all means. This is a democratic country. May God bless t hem.

MS: Tuanku, what about the State FAs who are keeping mum? After all, the players are the products of the system laid out by the affiliates, but FAM is bearing the brunt.

SAS: That’s normal. The State FAs are never wrong, only FAM is to be blamed. But they are also part of FAM. When we have the meeting soon, we will discuss this.

MS: There have been suggestions that Malaysia open its doors to naturalised citizens to represent the country as a short-term measure towards revival, Tuanku?

SAS: It ’s not my style. I’m proud of my own people. Why should we allow others to deprive true and genuine Malaysians from representing Malaysia? Our rakyat are still capable of excelling in sports. Why should we give it to others?

MS: Will Tuanku watch the match against Iran on Wednesday (tomorrow)?

SAS: That’s a good idea. I will try. I’m also busy with my State, but I will try.

How Would We Audit The Auditors?

Hmm...shouldn't a task force comprises people who are from outside the organisation, to prevent bias? Like an audit.

Denial is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person faced with a fact that is uncomfortable or painful to accept rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimization) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference). ...

FAM boss refuses to step down, vows to turn things around

PETALING JAYA: Sultan Ahmad Shah has promised a “general overhaul” of the FA of Malaysia (FAM) and he will also personally conduct an inquiry into the national team’s inept performance in the Asian Cup Finals.

The FAM president said that it was his responsibility to check the rot. And he dismissed speculation that he would also step down following the resignation of his son, Tengku Abdullah, as the FAM deputy president on Sunday.

“I will not bow to pressure. I am not a coward,” said the Sultan, reacting to the public outcry calling for the FA top brass to resign.

“Who does not want the national team to do well at international matches? This is my responsibility ... we will not run away ... we are fighters.”

Speaking to reporters at the Subang (TUDM) airport before boarding a private jet to Kuantan yesterday, he said that he would lead an inquiry team comprising a few FAM exco members to find the answers.

“Yes, I have been quiet all this while. They thought I do not know anything. I love football and I am with the people (rakyat). We were badly beaten,” he said.

“I demand a full report of the matches against China and Uzbekistan from the manager and coach. I cannot take it. There will be changes.”

Malaysia are in the Asian Cup Finals by virtue of being one of the four co-hosts. They were thrashed by China (1-5) and Uzbekistan (0-5) in Group C and will complete their fixtures tomorrow against Iran.

In contrast, the other Asean hosts of the Finals – Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia – have done well, scoring wins and draws over much fancied opponents.

“We will have something new up our sleeves. I will not let them (the fans) down. I have been the FAM president for 22 years and I know the tricks of the trade,” said the Sultan.

“I know the agony of the fans. We have spent millions but they (affiliates and players) have not done anything. I want to raise the image of the national team.

“I took over as the FAM president in 1984 and started from scratch. I made them (the FAM) rich and gave every affiliate subsidies.”

On whether he would step down at the coming FAM Congress in September, Sultan Ahmad said that it was left to the members to decide.

“If they want me, I am willing to serve,” said the Sultan.

“We are still alive – spiritually, physically and mentally. Come what may, we will continue to strive to excel. There has to be something solid and concrete that has to be done.”

On the resignation of Tengku Abdullah, Sultan Ahmad said: “This is breaking news. If he is happy with the decision, what can I do. He is my son.

“How nice of him to say that he wanted to apologise to all the fans and intended to shake hands with every spectator at the National Stadium during the matches.”

Meanwhile, Bernama reports that FAM’s independent council member Khairy Jamaluddin has quit his post with immediate effect

In a letter to the FAM general secretary Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, Khairy said his move was a mark of respect to Tengku Abdullah’s decision to resign from the association
Taken from The Star

Bad News, Good News

You can't always have it all. Here's good news and bad news. Choose which one is which.

FAM president not quitting, instead to head taskforce to investigate debacle

FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah said today he would not quit the national football body.

Saying he was a fighter, he told a press conference that a task force headed by him had been formed to investigate the
football debacle.

The task force would also plan for the future of Malaysian football, he said. He also announced that FAM secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad had tendered his resignation.
Taken from the New Straits Times

Ibrahim to give up the hot seat

PETALING JAYA: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary, Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, will vacate the hot seat when his two-year term expires next month.

The FAM president, Sultan Ahmad Shah, said he had received in writing from Ibrahim of his intention not to renew his contract after his last day in office on Aug 15.

“He (Ibrahim) has done a good job. I must thank him,” said the Sultan. Ibrahim took over the post from Datuk Dell Akbar Khan two years ago.
Taken from The Star

First To Go Part Three

What perplexes me is, how many Deputy Presidents are there in FAM? It seems everyone and their uncles are Deputy Presidents there.

So the TM of Pahang resigns. BorakBola is following the story with great interest to find out:

a) Who else will follow or get the hint
b) How soon will the 'Pujuk Army' grovel on their knees and beg the TM to come back to the fold

We will not be surprised if TM suddenly do an about-turn and decides to retract his resignation. Remember how things work in this country? FAM have not decided to accept the resignation or not. TM could always say, "I wanted too, but the people still want me and I feel I have a job to do/my responsibilities/there are things still to be done". Yes, we are skeptical about because stranger things have happened before.

After all, in earlier news report, this what King Yob had to say,

FAM vice-president Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said: "I am shocked that he resigned. This is not acceptable because it’s not his fault alone.I am seeking an appointment with him to try and persuade him to stay on. I will ask the general secretary to call for an emergency executive council meeting on this matter."

Of course at this time people are unsure where the General Secretary of FAM is. He's out there somewhere.

and sadly, the rest within the FAM have not been singing the same tune.

Denial is a psychological defense mechanism in which a person faced with a fact that is uncomfortable or painful to accept rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimization) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference). ...

Missing Person - UPDATED

Don't bother with returning the Missing Person we indicated earlier in the posting below. He can now stay away for all we care.

Missing Person


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Answers to the name of Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad, (apparently) Secretary-General of FAM and Batu Kawan UMNO Chief.

Frequent Hangouts: Usually rarely in the stadium unless its an away match overseas. Always there for press conferences when there are: Menteries, Funds and Sponsorship Issues, Cake Cuttings or TV coverages

Last Seen: According to news report, have been away abroad on 'personal business' despite the fact that Malaysia is one of the hosts of the AFC Asian Cup tournament

Favourite Words: Its the State FA fault/Foreign Coach's fault/Local Coach's fault/Players' fault/Field/We are too short/They are too tall/They are too fast/Not enough money/Jerseys too tight/Not FAM/Not us/Not me

If found please return to the nearest State FA or Wisma FAM

First To Go Part Two

Tengku Mahkota Pahang Resigns

KUALA LUMPUR: The atrocious performance of the national football team claimed its first casualty yesterday.

The Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has tendered his resignation as deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

"It is with deep regret that I would like to inform you that I have decided to resign from all my positions in the FAM effective today (yesterday)," he said in the letter, signed by his personal secretary Datuk Zainal Abidin Abu Bakar, to FAM secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Ibrahim Saad.

In the three-paragraph letter, he thanked Ibrahim and staff for their support but did not give any reason for the resignation. It would appear that he has read the mood of Malaysians.

They are yearning to see Malaysia, which once had the strongest team in Southeast Asia, win at least one important match.

His resignation comes on the heels of a 5-0 humiliation suffered by the national team at the feet of Uzbekistan on Saturday in an Asian Cup game.

On Tuesday, China handed Malaysia a 5-1 drubbing. Abdullah apologised to fans for the team’s listless performance.

Over the past 10 years, the performance could only be described as an embarrassment. Malaysia is the last ranked team in the Asian Cup. It is ranked 149 in the Fifa world rankings.

It is likely more FAM officials will either resign or decline to contest at the FAM annual congress in September.

Sources said Tengku Abdullah and FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah had, even before the Asian Cup tournament, decided to step down at the congress.

There is talk that another royal will take over as FAM head. A young politician is said to be the likely candidate for the deputy presidency.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman and several FAM council members expressed shock over Tengku Abdullah’s decision.

"Tengku Abdullah alone is not responsible for the state football is in today nor Malaysia’s defeats in the (ongoing) Asian Cup," Azalina said yesterday.

"It is a collective responsibility. We are losing a capable leader but I believe that he has made the right decision after giving it a great deal of thought. I hope this makes football officials take notice and some positive results will come out of this whole episode."

Another deputy president, Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad, felt Tengku Abdullah should have waited for the FAM congress before making his decision.

"Yes, he had indicated to us (his decision to quit) for quite some time, but he could have waited until the congress. I am sure he would have given it serious thought before making his decision," he said.

FAM vice-president Datuk Raja Ahmad Zainuddin said: "I am shocked that he resigned. This is not acceptable because it’s not his fault alone. I am seeking an appointment with him to try and persuade him to stay on. I will ask the general secretary to call for an emergency executive council meeting on this matter."

National team manager and vice-president Datuk Anifah Aman said: "Tengku Abdullah alone is not responsible for the state of football in the country. We have a collective responsibility.

"We must face the reality that we can’t go far with the present batch of national players. We must start grassroots development again."
Taken from The New Straits Times

Almost There

With group matches nearing conclusion for the 2007 Asian Cup, Malaysia might end up as the ONLY team not picking up any points in the competition. With Oman and Qatar getting 2 points each in their respective groups. Malaysia will be the LAST among the 16 teams, unless the team draw with Iran tomorrow (very unlikely) and Korea losing their match against Indonesia (possible). Korea now has only 1 point after drawing with Saudi Arabia and losing to Bahrain.

All bets are off for Malaysia to remain last.

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Fokus Bola on RTM1

On Monday (16 June) evening at 8.45pm there was a special edition of RTM1's Fokus Bola. It was called, "Apa Dah Jadi?" (Literally - What happened?). Fokus Bola is a one-hour TV talk show discussing about local football issues. It usually includes dialogue with viewers who call to join the show’s virtual community and take part in a civil exchange of ideas.

The guests invited were Datuk Anifah Aman, (Deputy President of FAM and current manager of the Pasukan Kebangsaan); Datuk Paduka Haji Ahmad Basri Akil, (the 'father of development' for Kedah football and vocal critic of FAM) and Rashid Hassan, (former National, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper and in BorakBola's view, one of THE man that ever protected the Malaysian goal). It was moderated by the experienced host and commentator, Zainal Abidin Rawop

Monday's show was a commendable effort by the Unit Sukan TV of RTM to provide a platform to discuss about the current malady affecting the state of football in the country - perhaps jolted by the resignation of the Deputy President of FAM, the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang on Sunday and Malaysia's poor performance so far in the 2007 Asian Cup.

However, despite some valid points raised and discussed by the guests or presented by the callers, to be honest there's nothing new or nothing extraordinarily shocking that the average Malaysian football fan don't already know. It is basically the same thing over and over again. Like playing a bad record.

In a nutshell, it's all down to poor development and transition between and from the youth to senior level at all sides, be it State or National and in truth, despite all the arguments and excuses thrown around, this is simply down to poor and irresponsible management.

Of course, it boils down deeper than that as there as many other factors involved but that is one of the biggest reason why football in this country has reached such a level.

Anyway, BorakBola would like to touch one issue in particular which was raised during the show. Fokus Bola had a quick SMS survey asking viewers whether Malaysia should start to use naturalised foreign players in the national team (see half of Singapore National Team, Quintana for Bahrain, Alex and Tulio Tanaka for Japan etc)

55% replied to say YES while 44% said NO. Datuk Paduka Haji Ahmad Basri said "not yet", while Datuk Anifah (being the politician that he is) cleverly said, "we are not closed to the idea". Rashid Hassan summed it best, "No, it's as if our own people are not capable of doing it ourselves"

BorakBola's stand on this? NO!

A few reasons for this:

Firstly, do not judge the current crop of national players as representation that Malaysians cannot play football. We cannot allow poor selection or poor management and development preventing us to see the real picture, the real issue behind all this. It is NOT that we don't have players that are capable of playing, it is because the talents have not been spotted, developed, cultured, trained or selected properly. Having naturalised, foreign born players will not solve the problems in the long run, it will only (perhaps) provide us with a stop-gap, quick-fix solution. What we need to see is development for the future. Surely, with a population of over 27 million people, there MUST be an Anak Malaysia - be it Malay, Chinese, Indian or even Orang Asli that is better than one or two imported player (who cannot even start in his own national team otherwise). Yes, the situation is dire but how desperate are we that we need to resort to importing players from another country?

Remember that current Asian Cup quarterfinalist, Vietnam, does not have any foreign-born players on their roster. So does Indonesia and Thailand. Of course, we realise that all of these countries have bigger populations to choose from than Malaysia (therefore a bigger pool to choose from) but without proper selection, management and training by the relevant bodies and organisation in those countries, it wouldn't mean a thing. (India for example, is the second most populated country in the world, but without good management they have yet to produce a world class football team. And UAE has a population of less than 5 million, yet we even have problems beating them)

We shouldn't look at Singapore simply for their inclusion of foreign citizens in their team. Theirs is a simple case of, small population = need to win immediately at all cost. Which is why they also have foreign table-tennis and badminton players. In anyway, while they have become the current ASEAN champions in football, remember it is their Singaporean-born players who usually pose more threats. As can be seen from the recent friendly against Australia, players like Khairul Amri and Indra Sahdan were giving the Aussies a good run for their money. And their youth football development is good. Will Malaysia one day be able to introduce 16 years olds like Hariss Harun on an international match against top class team like Singapore did? Not likely if we don't something about football development at this country [NB: BorakBola will start to include news from the junior national teams soon, as we do have some exciting young talents out there]

We are not surprised by the poll result. Understandably a section of the Malaysian football fans are fed-up with the team losing on a continuous basis. Many would like to see something happening right now. Plus it is only natural, that in a country where over half of the population are more passionate about foreign clubs such as Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Manchester United, that the average fan wouldn't mind supporting a national team filled with non-Malaysian born players. As long as the team wins. But we do not agree with winning desperately.

BorakBola may not like Khairy Jamaluddin politically and personally, but he has a few things right when it comes to football. UPB-MY Team have qualified for the Super League next season and in most of the games he has been there on the sidelines supporting his team. He is also one of the few in FAM who showed support for Norizan Bakar when everyone on FAM was flaming the coach and we must admit, although maybe the intention was not 100% honourable when the MyTeam project was launched last year, the idea was there - go around the country to find people who want to play, who could play and train them. If only Khairy would assist FAM by providing a helpful solution to improve football in the country (and not by trying to 'prove a point' by asking to play against the National Team). Rumours has it he could be one of the people in line to be in the new, 'revamped' FAM line-up. We shall wait and see.

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Khairy with MyTeam

Lastly, if Malaysia still would want to go down the same road as Singapore, we must remember that if the root of the problem remains, nothing will change. Get even Ronaldinho in the team and still we are bound to lose matches if the system fails. Japan has come a long way since the days of Wagner Lopes and Ruy Ramos. Japanese players such as Hide Nakata and Nakamura are better than Alex Santos and even then, Alex came to Japan when he was 15. With Tulio Tanaka being the only foreign player (and his father is Japanese) in the current football team, Japan is also slowly going away with foreign born players. (Note that Under-21 players like Lee Tadanori and Mike Havenaar are Japanese-born and thereby Japanese so they don't count)

NB: One of the callers yesterday was Irfan Bakti, remember him? Guess where he is now? Irfan is now the Head Coach of Persipura Jayapura, one of the top teams in Liga Indonesia. Persipura's players include Timnas players such as goalkeeper Jendry Pitoy, Ricardo Salampessy and Boaz Sollosa. Respect!