16 July 2007

149th and still going downnnnnnnnnnnn...

The pathetic state of the Malaysian national soccer team. It is currently ranked by FIFA to be 149th in the world, out of 208 teams, and teams like Swaziland, Mauritius, Lesotho, Tajikistan and the Bahamas are ranked higher than Malaysia.

After the recent whipping-- or demolition by China (5-1) and Uzbekistan (5-0) in the Asian Cup, I won't be surprised when the new FIFA ranking comes out next month Malaysia will be somewhere in the region of 150s or worse, 160s if Iran also do a 5-0 on Malaysia this week.

Ah... the Asian Cup tournament. Whose bright idea was it to have Malaysia host one of the groups? And to be grouped with China, Uzbekistan and Iran? Someone in the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) called it the group of death. As I understand it, a group of death in any sport means a very tough grouping, where teams will have a tough time winning the group and progressing. We consider ourselves to be worthy opponent in this so called group of death? Cannon fodder is more like it.

Yesterday the Deputy President of the FAM tendered his resignation from all posts. Although he did not give his reason for resigning, it would appear that he has read the feelings of most Malaysians. This is commendable, for it is not natural for anyone in high positions in Malaysian sport associations to resign whenever there is a serious debacle. It is rare indeed.

However, others in the FAM have started saying he should not resign because it is not his fault. If this continues, I bet that in a few days the Deputy President will change his mind about resigning citing popular demand asking him to stay on and all that. This is also another sickness of Malaysian sport associations : Resignations may not be permanent, due to popular demand.

Someone high up in the Cabinet then said that it is a collective responsibility and the DP should not resign. Gawd, if they like to stress on collective responsibility so much then the whole powers-that-be in the FAM should resign. However, the chance of that happening is as much as Bush having dinner with Osama. And the rot continues.

Malaysian soccer has been in the pits for the past 20 years. When I left Malaysia for overseas studies in the mid 70s, Malaysian soccer is something to be proud of, and we have players who will play for the country for peanuts. Players who have hunger in their eyes and the passion for winning. Players who dared to look into the eyes of their opponents and thought "We are going to bury your team today!".

When I came back, I witnessed the decline, and that corruption scandal involving closed to a hundred players in the local league finally killed it. Overnight, talented players were banned for life for their involvement. I lost interest.

Today, our professional league division 1 is called the Super League, while division 2 is called the Premier League. We are the only (I think) professional soccer league in the world who dared confer these superlative names on our divisions. Even the mighty English FA only call their top flight the Premier League. The self delusion continues.

So, where should Malaysian soccer go from here? I do not know. I am tired of the failures. Tired of the same old excuses. Tired of the politicking. Tired of the interference. It is easy for me to say do this and do that, but unless those in power at the FAM do a 180 degree change in how soccer is run in this country, we will continue the downward spiral.

And rank number 208 will not be far off.


Anonymous said...

I noticed one thing about Malaysian footballers (dunno if this applies to every states lah).

Where the ball goes, everyone goes. "Kumpul! Kumpul!" I never liked Malaysian footballs anyway. Well, I used to like it when Matlan Marjan was still the hero in Sabah. Then after, the football scenario gets too boring.

Uzbekistan 5-0
China 5-1

Something like that lah I saw in the newspapers last night. LOL!!!

Wombat said...

Matlan Marjan. He really showed the England team a thing or two in the 80s in that friendly match which Malaysia lost 2-4 against England. matlan scored 2 while Gary Lineker scored 4. Too bad he got involved in that bribery scandal.

Anonymous said...

Won't be surprised if Iran slams 5 goals past wonky Malaysia. Oh well, if you can't climb up the rung, then climb to the lowest rung - aim for number 208! Blech!

Anonymous said...

At least Malaysia team is consistent in giving their opponent a 5 score! Hahahah!

Anonymous said...

You said it bro. Our players lack spirit. You don't see the hunger, you dont see the pride of donning the national kit. Remember some time back when we had a foreign coach? This particular coach told a selected player with long hair that if he wanted to play for the national team, he would have to cut his hair.

Said player chose hair over country. What else can you say?

And, gallivanter, we don't need to climb down to 208. We just let go and plummet down. Looks like we already did.

Anonymous said...

Like Gallivanter mentioned in other post before. Take the politics out of football.
The only reason any team can become great is when everyone has the mindset. Then again I'm no expert lah.