KUALA LUMPUR • Reacting to pressure from fans, following poor performances by the national team in recent World Cup qualifiers, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has decided to advertise for suitable candidates to take charge of the Tigers and the national Under-23 team.
At the FAM special task force's first meeting in Kelana Jaya yesterday, the members discussed the two coaching vacancies and the current national team programme, reported The Star.
The coaching set-up of the national team was thrown into disarray following Malaysia's 0-10 loss to the United Arab Emirates in a World Cup qualifying match in Abu Dhabi on Sept 3. A day later, Dollah Salleh quit as coach.
The FAM then appointed national Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee as the interim coach. He oversaw the team's 1-2 loss to Saudi Arabia on Sept 8 and has been asked tocontinue in the role until December.
Mokhtar Ahmad, the FAM's deputy president and head of the special task force, said yesterday that the new coaches for the national team and national Under-23 team will be appointed by December.
QUEST FOR THE BEST
A lot of people want us to hire a foreign coach, but we're open and transparent. We'll appoint the candidates who meet our criteria.
MOKHTAR AHMAD, deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia
"A lot of people want us to hire a foreign coach, but we're open and transparent. We'll appoint the candidates who meet our criteria," he was quoted as saying by The Star.
"We will also set up a selection panel with members from the National Sports Council to look into the appointment of the national Under-23 coach."
He added that a white paper on whether the Harimau Muda programme should be scrapped or not will be brought up at the next FAM executive committee meeting.
"The white paper will be produced based on the input from media representatives, former players, coaches and academicians," he said.
According to The Star, the FAM advertised for a national team head coach last year after deciding not to extend K. Rajagopal's contract in 2013. Frenchman Philippe Troussier, who once coached South Africa, Japan and Qatar, was among those who applied.
But while the FAM courted him, the deal fell through and the national body appointed Dollah in July last year.
Meanwhile, FAM president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has said that Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin can suspend the body if he wants to, and has agreed to abide by any decision, reported The Malaysian Insider.
"Just go ahead and suspend us then," the FAM president said in Pahang when asked to comment on Khairy demanding an FAM explanation within 14 days on the abandoned match against Saudi Arabia when Malaysia were trailing.
"Yes, we will abide (by) and accept any action taken as the minister has the power," said Tengku Abdullah, who is also the Crown Prince of Pahang. He added that criticism levelled at the FAM over the incident was not fair.
"It is the responsibility of many parties, including the Shah Alam stadium management and police, to ensure every aspect of a world-class match is in place for the match to proceed smoothly," he said.
"So, the violence and disruption to the match that occurred as a result of safety issues caused by football hooligans cannot be entirely put on FAM's shoulders."
Last Wednesday, the Sports Commissioner's office sent the FAM a show-cause letter asking for an explanation regarding the incident.