Say What

Published: Thursday January 23, 2014 MYT 7:30:00 AM
Updated: Monday January 27, 2014 MYT 8:08:45 AM

Coach Malaysia at your own peril, Mr Troussier

Ex-national coach K. Rajagopal was hauled up by the Football Association of Malaysia's disciplinary committee after he made comments about the lack of quality strikers to the press. - Filepic

Ex-national coach K. Rajagopal was hauled up by the Football Association of Malaysia's disciplinary committee after he made comments about the lack of quality strikers to the press. - Filepic

IT’S no secret that world-renowned coach Philippe Troussier has been linked with a stint in Malaysia. It would be a pleasure to have the Frenchman as our national football coach, but is the man aware of the atrocious working environment that’s in store for him here?

Here are some factors Monsieur Troussier should take into consideration before signing on the dotted line with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

No. 1 - Beware the draconian law of the FAM (Article 88)!

Did the officials who conducted the preliminary interviews with Troussier warned him of the do’s and dont’s in Malaysian football? Was he told to just to keep his mouth shut, no matter what the situation? And that if he does want to open his mouth, then he MUST paint a rosy picture of Malaysian football?

If he were to say anything negative, then he’ll definitely be hauled up.

Can someone please tell Troussier that should he open his mouth – and the powers-that-be in the FAM do not like what he is saying – he’d better be prepared to face the consequences?

And do connect him with the many former national coaches and officials who had fallen victim to the dreaded “Article 88” statute.

Three of the big names who were hauled up included former national coaches B. Sathianathan and Datuk K. Rajagopal and former FAM deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa.

Sathianathan was sacked after criticising Malaysia’s 5-0 mauling by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at home in their Asian Cup qualifying match in 2009. His comment that “the M-League is not football” moments after that defeat earned him the wrath of the national body.

Yes, the truth hurts.

Last year, Rajagopal was hauled up by the disciplinary committee for stating at a post-match press conference that Malaysia “lacked quality strikers” in the M-League. For that, he was deemed to have upset the powers in FAM. Fortunately, common sense prevailed and no action was taken against him.

But wait, there’s more. Annuar was slapped with a 30-month ban for speaking his mind in April 2012, when he was the deputy chairman of the national team committee.

Annuar was found guilty of violating “Article 88”, which states that only the FAM president and secretary general are permitted to make statements regarding the national team.

No. 2 - Things are done STRICTLY the FAM (Technical Committee) Way!

There is no doubt that Troussier will be at the mercy of the technical committee – the sole decision-makers. This is because the coaching staff in FAM are subjected to the so-called “think tanks” (mostly unqualified officials) to endorse whatever plans or requests they have.

Everything is solely at the discretion of this committee. They can choose to sit on the proposals and working papers for months and there’s nothing you can do about it. Just ask some of the former coaches or technical directors.

No. 3 – FAM Tak Boleh! (FAM can’t progress)

If Troussier is still game for the challenge, then good luck! – he’ll need it.

Three top coaches – Frenchman Claude Le Roy, who guided Cameroon to the World Cup Finals; Brazilian Jorven Viera, who led war-torn Iraq to the Asian Cup title; and Englishman Allan Harris, a former assistant to Terry Venables of Spanish giants Barcelona – tried to change Malaysian football’s fortunes, and all three left without much success.

Youth and Sport Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was spot-on when he said that Malaysia would only need a world class coach once the team have reached the Olympics or the World Cup – not now.

He also pointed out that spending money on developing local football would be better than splurging on a world-class coach for the national team.

But do you think anyone (in the FAM) will listen?

The 2014 M-League kicked off this week and a total of 12 goals were scored in the six Super League matches.

Guess who scored the bulk of it? The foreign legion, of course. They contributed 10 of the goals.

Khairy is right. We just don’t have the material, yet. How is Troussier going to work with mediocre talent?

It’s pathetic that Malaysian football turned professional two decades ago and we still have not made much headway.

The ROT is in the system and until the national body put their house in order – Troussier is just going to waste his time coming here.

The rot is quite severe. There are deadwoods in most of the state FAs. A majority of them do not have any junior development programmes ... some not even a state league.

The bottom line is that we don’t have a big pool of players. FAM spent millions on the Harimau Muda A squad’s stints in Europe. And what happened at the end of the day – we failed to return home with a medal at the Myanmar SEA Games.

And that’s just a regional Games, mind you.

Enough said, if Troussier still wants to come, be my guest.

After all, 2014 is Visit Malaysia Year ... so, come and have a great holiday! (a paid holiday at that since he is asking RM2.7mil a year in salary).

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