TMJ lets fly on Malaysia’s Suzuki Cup failure

Not getting credit: Johor Darul Ta’zim’s Safawi Rasid (centre) was Malaysia’s top scorer and he scored four goals at the Suzuki Cup. — FAM

PETALING JAYA: A failure to communicate and to plan, and losing command the dressing room – the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim did not hold back when he cited the factors that led to the national football team underperforming at the Suzuki Cup.

The Johor Darul Ta’zim owner even said that the formation of an independent committee to investigate the debacle was a waste of time.

“Vision without planning is hallucination. What’s the point of having thick files and meetings? Do you see JDT having meetings? I see the reports given by my staff, make a decision and execute it. Decisions have to be immediate. Too much formality isn’t the way forward,” he quipped in an interview with Astro Arena and Cakap Sukan in Dubai yesterday.

Many netizens had earlier alleged there were hidden hands in the national team, with some claiming that Tunku Ismail was influencing things.

Tunku Ismail rubbished that perception by saying that he only shares his opinions, but the Football Association of Malaysia and their coach have the final say on things relating to the national team.

“If you ask me, everyone has to take responsibility. FAM are wrong, the coach (Tan Cheng Hoe) is wrong. Nobody should protect themselves and hide.

“Number one, communication should have been better. At first, they wanted to bring the Under-23 team to the Suzuki Cup and then suddenly, they decided to pick the seniors instead.

“Plus, the coach did not show leadership. It would have helped if he had a clear plan, but it wasn’t clear from the beginning, hence the poor outing in Singapore.

“Also, when the call-up was announced, why wasn’t FAM clear on why some of the names were omitted. Matthew Davies had a hernia operation, La’Vere Corbin Ong had a groin tear, so did Syamer Kutty Abba. And Natxo Insa went to Barcelona for a heart check-up.

“Why wasn’t this communicated to the fans? It gave the impression that I did not want to send my best players when that is not the case.

“I was told that the players were discussing tactics on the board instead of the coach. Which team in the world does that? If that was the case, then the coach has to be responsible.”

Tunku Ismail also denied claims that the Malaysian players in JDT are not interested in playing for the national team.

“Local players want to play for the national team. It’s something significant in their curriculum vitae (CV). The coach must know how to handle the players. If Malaysia win, no one praises JDT but when we lose, it’s all about JDT. In the Suzuki Cup, my players – Safawi Rasid (four goals, top scorer), Akhyar Rashid and Shahrul Saad scored goals. Why no one talks about that?”

Tunku Ismail said he is being deemed as the black sheep when he had nothing to do with the coach’s failure in planning and being transparent to the public.

“Pointing fingers is easy, but that won’t solve problems. We have to look for solutions.”

Moving on, he said the new national coach has to be given a free hand and also reminded the FAM that it is time to allow the coach to be the manager as well – instead of getting someone from their executive committee to hold that position.

“Give him time. Don’t expect him to win three games immediately. It takes time to form your philosophy and programmes, and to make a good selection. There should be no interference.

“FAM should be transparent too. Let the media and fans know everything. Don’t make assessments based on emotions. Do it rationally, based on facts.”

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