Soh Chin Aun: ' We need people with experience, not those with no footballing background, to call the shots in technical matters or even sit in such committees.'
PETALING JAYA: The football greats – Michel Platini (UEFA president), Kunishige Kamamoto (former general manager of Japan FA), Kuniya Daini (Japan FA president) and Kim Jae-han (vice-president of Korean FA) – have all played significant roles in the development of the game after their playing days.
The technical expertise of these players is simply priceless, something which money cannot buy.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of our Malaysian heroes.
And that’s the gripe the “towkay” of Malaysian football – Datuk Soh Chin Aun – has with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).
He feels that they should have made full use of the players’ vast experience to chart the fortunes of the national team.
“When we talk about FAM ... the main concern is the national team. We need people with experience, not those with no footballing background, to call the shots in technical matters or even sit in such committees,” said Chin Aun on Friday.
He admitted that the FAM, under president Sultan Ahmad Shah, did not make much progress due to the wrong people holding positions in the system.
“The Sultan has done his part to source for sponsors to finance the programmes but, when it comes to technical matters, they need the real experts of the game – those with playing experience. It is sad that when you get the wrong advisors, the game suffers,” said Chin Aun.
The former international, who is the only Malaysian footballer to have qualified for two Olympics (1972 Munich and 1980 Moscow), however, does not hold the Sultan responsible for the rot that has set in in the system.
“It’s the people surrounding him who have killed the game. The Sultan has done his part but those around him, like the sleeping affiliates, have let him down. There is not much development in the states and we can go nowhere with these deadwoods around.
“We have almost everything in football – the best stadiums, best fields and best facilities – but when we don’t have quality players, there is nothing we can do. Don’t even dream about the World Cup, yet.
“Only a handful of teams from Asia have made it. We have to work our way up,” said Chin Aun.
On the coming FAM election on Sunday, Chin Aun gave his backing to deputy president Tengku Abdullah to take over from his father, the Sultan of Pahang.
Chin Aun also sees the election as a good start point to overhaul Malaysian football.
“The Sultan is a simple man and a good listener while his son Tengku Abdullah (the deputy president) always respected his father’s views.
“I dare say that if given full powers, Tengku Abdullah will make drastic changes by placing the right people in the right places.
“Tengku Abdullah is a respected man, just like his father, in the international football fraternity. He is the ideal man to push Malaysian football forward.”