Wake-up call for the states


PETALING JAYA: The success story of Malaysia Cup champions Selangor MPPJ is a wake-up call for the state FAs who have gone into a slumber. 

Former national coach Abdul Rahman Ibrahim said that the emergence of club sides, including Premier II champions Selangor Public Bank, who will feature in the eight-team Super League next year, indicated that corporate organisations were more professional in the management of their teams to excel in the game. 

“It is clear that the club set-up is better than the states.  

“We can see that the clubs are more organised and the management more professional in handling the teams,” said Abdul Rahman. 

He hoped that the state FAs would read the message sent out by the two successful clubs and put their houses in order. 

MPPJ, in only their second season in Premier II, defeated Sabah 3-0 in the final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Saturday. 

They will go into the history books as the first club to win the coveted trophy since the tournament’s inception in 1921. 

In Premier II, MPPJ finished fourth and they came close to qualifying for the Super League via the playoffs before losing to Sarawak at the final hurdle. Public Bank defeated Johor and Johor FC to get a place in the elite league. 

Abdul Rahman, who has been a coach for more than 20 years including assisting German Karl Weigang in the national squad who qualified for the 1980 Moscow Olympics, said that it was time for some of the State FAs to look in the mirror to see why their standards had stagnated and unable to produce the desired results. 

“I have been to many places and I have seen how the state teams were run,” he said. “The clubs, especially those managed by corporate giants, among them MPPJ, Public Bank and Malacca Telekom, have no problem with payment of salaries and in dealing with discipline.” 

Even when Abdul Rahman was handling the national team from 1998 to 2000, it was revealed that several national players faced financial problems because of late payments by their FAs. 

Both MPPJ and Public Bank are good paymasters and they have incentive schemes and other perks to keep their players on the toes. 

Selangor, who have won the Malaysia Cup for a record 29 times, used to be a role model for other teams. But they are now down in the pits. 

The Red Giants finished second from bottom in the 13-team Premier I and will have to play in the 18-team Premier League, which replaces Premier II, next season. 

Despite the services of several internationals and experienced hands in their side, Selangor finished the season empty handed. 

They lost the Charity Shield to Penang; bowed out to Selangor MPPJ in the second round of the FA Cup; and failed to qualify for the Malaysia Cup quarter-finals. 

MPPJ and Public Bank on the other hand had a blend of youngsters and discards from other state teams. The “rejects” definitely found a new lease of life under a very professional management. 

But there is a line of caution for MPPJ and Public Bank following their success. There can be meddling forces jumping on the bandwagon to wreck all the hard work. 

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