PETALING JAYA: Are the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) for real in wanting to hire a foreign coach like the world renowned Philippe Troussier?
Word has it that the national body have begun negotiations with the Frenchman, who had coached the national teams of Nigeria, South Africa and Japan.
Troussier, who has just completed his contract with China’s Shenzhen Ruby, is reportedly the leading candidate to replace Datuk K. Rajagopal, whose deal ends next month.
Last week, the FAM appointed national Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee as the caretaker coach until they find a new man.
It was reported that Troussier would only consider an offer of US$1.52mil (RM5mil) a year or US$126,805 (RM407,000) a month.
Hopefully, common sense will prevail because even a man of Troussier’s stature will not be able to help Malaysian football in its current state.
One man who believes that even Troussier will not be able to turn around Malaysian football’s fortune is the legendary Dali Omar.
The 67-year-old Kelantanese, who made a name for himself with Australian First Division side Azzurri of Perth (now known as Perth Glory) in 1972, said that Malaysia are lagging so far behind the giants of the game and that “Malaysian football is getting nowhere”.
“We are at least 15 years behind the English Premier League (EPL) ... in my book,” said Dali.
“Whatever FAM are doing is out of proportion and is not going to work,” said the veteran, who also took a swipe at the quality of players in the national team.
He said that even a top coach would not be able get the desired results (in Malaysia) or pass his technical expertise across to these players.
“Whatever the coaches tell them ... it doesn’t get into their heads. This is because the players here mature quite late ... when they are 28 or 29,” said Dali.
“Elsewhere, players are in the national team by the time they are 20. So, whatever is taught to the players here does not register in their heads. It goes in through the left ear and comes out through the right ear. We lack thinking players ... the majority are slow to react and panic easily.
“To win a football the match, the engine room must function. The playmaker must be effective to win the ball. Sadly, the current ones play the ball like ‘ping-pong’. They don’t seem to gain 20m with the ball. There is no penetration and no creativity.”
He claims that the amount of money being thrown into the game has not help to raise the standard of football, either.
“The players are being offered far too much money and are not playing for the glory of the game any more. They are playing for the glory of money,” he said.
Dali was also disappointed with FAM for not accepting his offer to help them.
“I returned home 13 years ago (from Australia) ... but no one wants my services. I hope I can meet up with the Youth and Sports Minister (Khairy Jamaluddin) to share my ideas on how we can turn around Malaysian football,” he said.
As a 26-year-old – and at the prime of his career – Dali left for Australia in 1972. He landed a year’s trial with Azzurri of Perth and mesmerised them with his skill and tenacity.
He then turned to coaching with Olympics Kingsway before settling down in Australia. After 29 years, he returned home in 2000.
Dali, who also played an instrumental role in Kelantan football during his heyday, said that his biggest regret was his surprise omission from the 1972 Munich Olympic squad. He was a member of the Malaysian team in the Asian Youth Tournament in 1963 at the age of 17. He also featured for the national team from 1963-1969.