The Football Association of Malaysia’s president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim engaged in a dialogue session with football writers and representatives to discuss Malaysia’s defeat to Hong Kong, head coach Nelo Vingada, and the direction of Malaysian football – amongst other things.
“There’s a lot of problem with Malaysian football.” Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said in the live dialogue session that took place on Wednesday night.
“There are many things that need to be fixed. Mentally, physically, financially, there’s a lot of problems that need to be solved, and it will take time.” Tunku Ismail said.
“And I’m only crack in this castle of FAM. The problems go back a long, long way.”
Speaking of Malaysia’s defeat to Hong Kong and Lebanon in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers, the FAM president explained that we are going up against countries that have already taken football to the next level.
“We’re competing against countries that have taken football to a different level while we were asleep for the last 30 years. So it’s going to take us time to catch up with them.” the president said, adding that local football fans need to be patient because change cannot happen overnight.
“To be honest, we need at least 10 years to revamp things with the national team. It cannot be done after 5 matches, and it cannot be done in a few years. We need to incorporate the winning mentality DNA into our players. We need better playing philosophy.”
“You know what’s the secret behind JDT’s success? Unity. We have one target, and everyone gives their support. That is lacking in the national team. Some players don’t even want to be in the national team, because they’re afraid of being bashed by fans if they lose. How will the players feel motivated if the fans aren’t behind them?”
When asked if we are fielding our strongest national team, Tunku Ismail admitted that we are not- personally he’d rather see younger options in the squad.
“Are we fielding our strongest team? No. I think there are a lot of young midfielders from Pahang that I like. I think we lack fire-power up front, the strikers. We don’t have strikers, we have Darren Lok and Hazwan Bakri and that’s about it. But I’m not going to interfere – I can’t tell the coach what to do.”
“We need more young players in the team. The current Harimau Malaya squad is good, but I think they’re done.” the Crown Prince said.