Jan 31, 2010


Harimau Muda 'A' who were 'caged' from playing in the local league and snubbed by the Singapore S-League, will make a quantum leap by competing in the Slovakia Under-21 league.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) deputy president Datuk Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad said they (Harimau Muda A) would be sent to Slovakia to compete in the country's local league.

"They will compete in the league from February to May and play 14 matches, plus a number of friendly matches from time to time," he told reporters after the FAM executive council meeting here today.

"After playing in the Slovakian league, the team would compete in the Obama Cup in the United States and undergo training in Indonesia during the month of July before competing in the Newspaper Cup in Vietnam (October)."

Redzuan said finance for the team that was being prepared for the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, would be borne by FAM, but added that FAM would try to absorb the team into the M-League, next season.

The fate of the team remained in a limbo following a decision by FAM on Dec 7, to bar Harimau Muda 'A' from playing in the Super League, so that they could play in the S-League.

FAM's plans however, fell flat when Singapore dropped a bombshell by not accepting the team to play in their S-League while any attempts to return to the M-League was dashed since the league had already started and the fact that affiliates were not keen the give the team a chance to play.

Meanwhile, FAM President Sultan Ahmad Shah took affiliates to task for preventing Harimau Muda A from playing in the M-league.

He said the move was a step backward, especially at a time when the whole country remains buoyant of the national team's victory at the Laos SEA Games, and they should have been committed towards improving and developing our young team.

"Unfortunately, the opposite happened and it led to FAM being criticized. We also had to look for other alternatives to accommodate the playing need of the team," said Sultan Ahmad after chairing a FAM executive council meeting at Wisma FAM, here on Sunday.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said the action of affiliates showed signs of selfishness and lack of foresight. BERNAMA

Jan 28, 2010


SO, tell us Mr Minister, what is the Everton deal going to cost the Sports Ministry, viz-a- viz the taxpayers?

Reliable sources say, it’s going to be a staggering 1.3 million pounds or the ringgit equivalent of RM7.15 million a year. Is that true Sir?

If it is, then let me tell you that it’s a marked-up fashioned to fill someone/ones’ coffers. I know what it costs as we had worked with Everton when I was in event and sports management.

Let me tell you Sir, that the whole development plan shouldn’t cost more than 700,000 pounds or RM3.8 million a year. If you don’t believe me, I can run it and manage it for you at this cost. Not that I want the job, but I want to show my convictions here, that I am not merely firing from all barrels from my hips.

Cheating the rakyat is already a mortal sin, but robbing them blind is cruel to the core.

By the way Mr Minister, I was told that you travelled by Air Asia on your own expense. But really Sir, I don’t see how relevant is that fact that was so eloquently explained by a prominent in my blog to the issue under the scope now.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter whether you travelled by Air Asia, MAS or even took the slow boat to the UK. It still doesn’t answer the question on how much is the Government spending on this project.

What is there to hide if there is nothing to hide?

As a taxpayer I deserve an answer. You politicians just can’t come beating our trail and knocking on our doors when you want our votes, and then when we voters demand transparency and answers, we get the cold shoulder.

Did you sit with Ray Hall who is the Academy Manager or did you meet Neil Dewship who is the Technical Manager for 9-19 years of age? Did they share with you their vision and mission of the academy in Malaysia?

You said many clubs have approached you, read here who they are. What now, all of s sudden, clubs are approaching you because we have 20 players who are in the same rank with Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas. You mean everyone wants a Malaysian player.

Mr Minister, you have RM10 million to help develop Malaysian football, and I bet you believe you have all the answers. But let me give you an idea on how you can spend part of that money.

Have you heard of the Piala Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah that goes on for 8 months, they play football every Saturday and Sunday. Do you know something that league has no money now, all they are asking for is RM 700,000.

It has 200 players playing every week without fail. Did your so-called experts at NSC inform you about this league? Why don’t you adopt the tournament?

So many other programs are held all over the country, they are starving or dying for the lack of money and funding, and find it hard to continue. Just like the Ken Barnes grassroots programme that was developing players from ages 12-17. NSC was supporting it for a few years, but has stopped now. And this programme had links with the top EPL clubs, having sent some 15 players for attachments in clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Birmingham, and Wigan.

Really Mr Minister, you need to speak with the real experts, not those who masquerading as one. Let’s do the math here Sir, if you are going to use up about RM7 million on Everton from your RM10 million grant from the Government, that will leave you with 3 million.

Let me guess, the remaining RM3 million will be allocated to the expense account of the National Sports Council (NSC), whose so-called experts will use for travel to monitor our players. Honestly Sir, this whole thing smacks of a scam and a classic case for the Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency (MACC).

Sir, you can avoid the subject now, you can even pretend we don’t exist. But please don’t make the mistake of under-estimating the influence of blogosphere, please do not trivialise our impact on voters. Statistics will show that voters are turned in more to the web than to the mainstream media.

So be a good public servant, and give us the figures. That’s all I am asking.

Jan 22, 2010


A training stint with an English club may become a reality for the national under-23 squad, said Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek."I have made several proposals to FAM (Football Association of Malaysia) president Sultan Ahmad Shah on the training stint in England after visiting a football academy there recently.

"I will be getting the feedbacks soon," Ahmad Shabery told reporters in an interview over the "Sports on Traxx 101" radio programme at Angkasapuri here on Thursday.Ahmad Shabery said once a decision was made, the ministry would unfold a football development programme, for which a RM10 million allocation was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak recently.

Meanwhile, FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad said he accompanied Ahmad Shabery in his visit to Everton Youth Academy and they discussed with Everton FC on the possibility of getting their assistance in the national football development programme."We have also made a request for our under-23 squad to train with the club," said Azzuddin when met at Wisma FAM, Kelana Jaya.

He said FAM would study the Youth and Sports Ministry's proposals but it would be pointless merely to attend training in England but not taking part in any competition."It is still not definite whether there will be an overseas training stint for the under-23 squad.

The footballers are also bound by contracts with state teams and clubs and this must be honoured as the Malaysian leagues had started."However, a monthly centralised training will continue as planned," he said, adding that, a committee comprising representatives from the National Sports Council, the Education Ministry and FAM would study various football development proposals which could be implemented.

On the Everton Youth Academy, he said it had a successful football development programme, starting at the tender age of eight."It has produced many top-notched players like Manchester United's Wayne Rooney," added Azzuddin.


FOOTBALL Association of Malaysia (FAM) and Sports Ministry are said to be keen to engage the Everton Football Club policy in having a structured youth development and coaching program. Read here on the suggested partnership.

Can anyone tell me why Everton? Is it because they spotted Wayne Rooney. ?

Jan 20, 2010


THE SAM executive committee are hoping to raise funds to cover the organisational expenses for the SAM Awards (luncheon) next month and to boost our savings.
As such, members are invited to assist towards this cause by selling tables at a cost of RM3,500 (per table). For each table sold, the member concern would receive a RM500 commission.
Members who wish to help out should contact SAM president - Ahmad Khawari Isa. They must follow procedures and must obtain a covering letter issued from the SAM office (by president only) before any transaction can be processed.
Members are allowed to sell more than one table but should get the endorsement of the SAM president before they can proceed with the transactions.. The member will receive the commission (RM500 for each transaction) only after the full amount RM3,500 is received by SAM.
The tentative dates chosen for the SAM Awards is Feb 20 or 21 (Sat/Sun) and the proposed venue is at PJ Hilton. Unlike previous years, the exco have decided to host the SAM Media Awards over lunch (11.45am- 2.45pm).
The proposed number of tables for the SAM Media Awards - 25 tables.

Currently, we have about 120 SAM members (should fill up 10 tables) and another five tables for invited guest and VIPS. The remaining 10 tables will be put on sale to cover the cost of expenses on a first come first serve basis.
The exco are prepared to open up more tables pending on the response of members towards the Media Awards.
As time is not on our side and with the Chinese New Year Festival on Feb 14, the members would have to finalise all transactions by the first week of February.

Jan 13, 2010


After having been privy to the idiosyncrasies and modus operandi of the Ministers who have attempted to give form and dignity to the sports portfolio, I am more and more convinced that a politician should not be a sports minister, or a sports minister should not be a politician.

For, in their haste to turn sport into his or her launching pad, politician sports ministers wittingly try to promote their political agendas, and unwittingly sentence the quality and future of sport to the gallows.

Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, a rank outsider to sport, is today charting the course of Malaysian football on his stunted perception of the term “football management”.

That he is unqualified to handle this portfolio is easier to accept as poor Ahmad Shabery could be a man thrust into a position through no fault of his. But what is harder to accept is the fact that he seems to have placed his faith on those self-proclaimed sport experts whom he surrounds himself with, and who themselves can’t tell you whether they are coming or going.

For why else then would Mr ill-advised and ill-informed former Information Minister be planning a trip to London to meet FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah to discuss plans for club attachment for our national players?

You don’t have to be a football genius to see that a bunch of “donkeys” are certainly not going to gel with a team of pedigree “horses”. You can’t soar with the eagles when you are turkeys. Or you can train a plough horse to run faster but it will never be a pedigree race horse.

I could go on and on, but I believe even Ahmad Shabery Cheek would have got the drift by now. Unless of course he believes our striker Amri Yahyah or Zaquan Adha can stand shoulder to shoulder with your Rooneys, your Van Persies, or even your Drogbas.

If Mr Minister knows who these EPL players are or has seen them in action often enough to form an opinion, wouldn’t you think he would have seen the wisdom of aborting this cockamamie plan of his to attach our national players to foreign clubs?

I guess not.

Let’s simplify this Mr Minister. We won’t even take this argument onto the pitch. Let’s just begin with the dressing rooms. Do you know Sir that the dressing rooms in these clubs don’t have bathroom doors and everyone is in full sight of the other proudly displaying their respective family jewels?

Do you seriously see our introverted, shy, kampong boys doing that? Even in the FAM hostels, our boys have their showers with their shorts or towels on. His is their culture, their mindset, their sense of inferiority. When they don’t even qualify to make their stand with the EPL players in the dressing rooms, do you seriously believe they can match them on the pitch to earn a place even in their junior teams?

In 1997 six players were sent to Arsenal for attachment for six weeks, and they were struck with inferiority complex that they never took their showers after the training session. That’s how mentally weak our players are.

Let’s take this forum into the “dining area”. Food, in the perception of the highly-trained professionals apparently is poison to our kampong boys, who must have their nasi lemak, roti canai, rice and curry, and all the lovely Malaysian delicacies.

Maybe NSC should also take a cook along with them when our players ever get to leave for these attachments.We also should take all cooking items from here, and maybe you can speak to Manchester United to allow the Malaysian chefs to use the kitchen, because our players are very special. By eating local dishes we won the SEA Games gold medal, and I am sure the way to the World Cup finals is through their stomachs too.

But as our Sports Minister and his self-proclaimed experts lounge in their Business Class passage to Europe in the name of “Lawatan Sambil Belajar”, Datuk Ahmad could mull over another option that though may not improve his political career immediately, but will certainly be good for the future of Malaysian football.

You see Mr Minister, as you are a politician yourself, perhaps you could use the good offices of the Foreign Ministry and its Minister Datuk Anifah Aman, a former football administrator, to get this job done.

In all of Europe and South America, I believe we have an embassy or a consulate. What we could do is to have every one of our ambassadors or consuls to help get our 12 or 13-year olds attached to a leading club in their respective areas.

We need to start with the young as habit-forming plays a crucial part in the development of a player. We have to ingrain the expectations and tenets of professionalism in our players at this age and not when they have already formed all the bad habits at age 26.

Can you imagine, if 1Malaysia had one 12 year old boy getting a sound football upbringing in each of these football-developed nations, we would eventually have 1Helluva Malaysia football team.
If parents are worried about their 12-year-olds growing up on foreign soil, well we have our embassies and consulates looking out for them, or even funding them.

This will require a political will, but then what the heck, after all we have politicians as Sports Ministers.

Oh one other thing, are you Mr Minister going to make public the cost of your grand inane plan. If there is nothing to hide, if there is justification, why the secrecy. What has happened to transparency?

I wish Mr Minister and his entourage a pleasant and of course please don’t forget to take your cameras along as England could provide some really good “Kodak Moments” for you.

Bon Voyage.

Jan 12, 2010


Government has set up special fund under the National Football Development Plan with an initial allocation of RM 10 million. This is above the RM 50 million approved under the 1 Malaysian Youth Program which will be monitored by the Prime Minister's office.


I wrote this story when I was still in NST, somehow I have always asked myself what has happen to this case. Sports Ministry has always said that the file is with Attorney General. But then again there is no follow up. Read the story below.

Tired with all the legal threats made by sports promoter GiftedGroup, the Youth and Sports Ministry is considering taking legal actionagainst the company for its failure to organise the Champions Youth Cup(CYC). "We are now determining whether we should sue the company first or waitfor their next course of action," said its minister, Datuk Ismail SabriYaakob,

He said the ministry was prepared to sue Gifted Group and was nowwaiting for the green light from the Attorney-General's Chambers. "We are ever ready as we are not in the wrong. "We have given the opportunity and enough time for Gifted Group to getthe sanction from the FA of Malaysia (FAM)," he said. He said the ministry would try to recover the money that it had alreadydisbursed to Gifted Group, which he claimed was "more than RM8 million".

As the organiser of CYC, he said Gifted Group had breached the contractwhen it had failed to get the sanction from FAM and to organise thetournament as scheduled from Aug 2 to 16. "They should have got the sanction before Feb 28, which was before Itook over the ministry. But to preserve our good relationship, I havegiven more time for the company to get the sanction and did not cancelthe tournament," he said.

Unfortunately, he said the organiser had no intention of getting thesanction as it claimed that it already had a three-year sanction fromFifa. "FAM later told us that the Fifa letter is only a blanket approval thatis subjected to rules and regulations of the host country," he said,explaining that in the agreement, the ministry would only assist GiftedGroup to procure the sanction. "It means that they should be the one to make a formal application andnot us." Gifted Group recently said that the CYC was definitely off and allcompeting teams in the tournament have been informed.

Gifted Group also said that recent statements attributed to the minister concerning the tournament were inaccurate but it had nointention of litigating via the media and would resort to arbitration.

Read S.S. Dhaliwal's take here


Jan 7, 2010


I must apologize for not being able to keep up with the latest updates. The Year started with promising job scopes and opportunities for my company to grow, and at the end of the day, blogging does not pay my bills, I would like to thank the many people who called and asked if I had stopped writing.

I am not an excellent writer compared to the many people out there, but given my limitations and time constraints I will however make every endeavour to address the biting issues. This morning I was on RTM breakfast show and we spoke about football and its progress. This is what I feel about the whole situation. Have a great year.

NSC Director General Datuk Zolkples Embong, being the obedient subordinate did a great job of by defending his boss’ decision of sending the national players to England for full time training. But the question is, does the NSC for all their claims, really know how to manage and cure Malaysian football of all its ailments?

Just what do they know about football management? Have these kataks ever stepped out from under their tempurung (coconut shell), and seen how football is managed in football-developed nations?

Their perception of astute football management is having an elite squad, waste RM 100 million on programmes, later shut down the department, and miraculously get away with murder and no accountability. The Malaysian Anti Corruption Agency that camped on the second floor of the NSC building quizzing certain officials could not provide any answers as well.

But even that aside, does anyone out there seriously believe that Zolkples can stand shoulder to shoulder with the nation’s football brains – FIFA and internationally- acclaimed at that too – like Datuk Seri Paul Mony Samuel, Datuk Peter Vellappan and Windsor Paul John?

When you are a dwarf, you should stand on the shoulders of giants so that you can have a better and clearer vision of what lies ahead. But to do that one has to first acknowledge one’s shortcomings. I seriously doubt Zolkples believes he is a dwarf in this field, for if he did I am quite sure he would have done the most sensible thing by seeking the assistance of these three world-acclaimed football administrators to fix our football problems.

For no one in their right frame of mind or knows anything of football would ever support such an inane move. I can even begin to understand why the Sports Minister would have conceived such an idea. He is after all a politician, and one who could be on transit in sports. But what excuse has a self-proclaimed expert on sports like Zolkples have to support a move that would only be more detrimental than instrumental in the rescue operations.

But really Mr Minister, you should have looked beyond the NSC to seek advice on this issue before coming up with a suggestion like that. I am just amazed why our very own football brains weren’t even consulted by us when the rest of Asia turns to them for help. Do they have to be Caucasians for us Malaysians to acknowledge their skills and knowledge?

Perhaps we should all just take a page out of Michael Jackson’s cosmetic book and have our skins bleached, for it seems, at least in this country, that it matters that we are black or white.
Maybe if the so-called experts in NSC had advised the Minister well, he would have sat with Europe failures like Fadzli Shaari who was in Germany playing division 4 with pot-bellied social footballers, Akmal Rizal who came running back, Juzaili Samion, and also Titus who decided to stay back.

Maybe the Minister and Zol should talk to former international call Lim Teong Kim, who is back for holidays from Germany, as the coach of the Under-19 Bayern Munich team, and get some input on life and standards in Europe.

Reality Check: There isn’t a single Malaysian who can get a playing contract in those football-developed nations even in the 2nd division. Let’s face it; we are still playing kampung football, and right now that’s all we are worth. The solutions are staring us in the faces, but we still persist on wasting taxpayers’ money and enriching the coffers of certain individuals.

I am also surprised that FAM hasn’t tapped into the huge reserves of Datuk Paul, Windsor, Datuk Peter Vellappan. What is it that’s standing in their way – ego?

Mr Minister, perhaps before you pay a visit to Old Trafford to seek assistance, you could do well by gaining some input from the football brains that are at our very own backyard.

For it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell you that Man United has no time for our boys, Brian Claire the Head of Youth will not give our players a chance to play even in the reserves. Did you ask the boys who are married to actresses and having a child, if they want to go. How much can you pay them? Our players can’t even play in the Vietnam League or Thailand League. Do you know why?

We are just not a competitive race. We are happy with being mediocre and get paid handsomely for it. When a mediocre player is earning up to RM 25,000 a month and lives comfortably without having to word hard, train in cold winters, and fight for places in the starting line-up week in week out, why in God’s name should they go and get killed in England.

Are our players, who have been so used to getting handouts and subsidies and not having to compete on level-playing fields most of the time, ready to compete in England? Please Mr Minister, who are you kidding? Please don’t insult Manchester United by even suggesting to them to train our very mediocre players, who thrive on mediocrity, laziness, roti canai and nasi lemak. I am very sure someone is making money as well here; no one is going to do this for free. So can the Minister tell us who is arranging this trip and what is it going to cost the tax payers?

Mind you the SEA Games gold medal was won after FAM spent RM 650 million in 15 years. That’s how much football cost, so let’s not celebrate as though we qualified for the World Cup. Yesterday Malaysia was beaten 1-0 by UAE in the Asian Cup. So there goes our campaign in the Asian Cup.

So what now Mr Minister?

Malaysia Goes Down ...

Second-half substitute Ahmed Khalil struck in the third minute of stoppage-time as UAE sealed their place at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup finals with a 1-0 win over Malaysia at Al Shabab Stadium on Wednesday.

The home side dominated the entire contest but failed to convert any of their chances until former AFC Young Player of the Year Khalil curled home from the edge of the area. Malaysia had to win their final game to keep their slender hopes of joining Uzbekistan in qualifying from the three team Group C alive, but the UAE's second win leaves Malaysia without a point from their four games.

Even though they knew a point would be enough to qualify for the finals ahead of their final game against Uzbekistan on March 3, the UAE began strongly and the home side came close to an opener after just seven minutes as Ismaeil Matar was denied by Malaysia goalkeeper Mohd Farizal.

But the UAE failed to maintain their strong start and Malaysia fought back into the contest although the visitors failed to threaten UAE goalkeeper Majed Naser.The home side regained control of the match as the first half progressed and again came close to opening the scoring after 22 minutes but Farizal turned away Matar's free-kick.

The UAE's dominance continued after the break but they still lacked the final touch in front of goal as Farizal again came to Malaysia's rescue four minutes after the hour mark as the visiting goalkeeper turned away Hamdan Al Kamali's free-kick. Mahmoud Khamis was the next to go close for the home side as he fired wide before Fares Juma fired over the crossbar with 10 minutes remaining. Malaysia nearly kept their slim hopes of qualifying alive in the last minute but a free-kick from captain Mohamad Aidil was straight at UAE goalkeeper Naser.And with time running out Abdulsalam Jumaa found Khalil and the substitute curled a sublime strike past Farizal from the edge of the area.


Players must play competitive matches every week to excel internationally while the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) must emphasize on a number of aspects before sending players for training overseas says 'Raja Bola' Datuk Ghani Minhat.

The legendary former international, national coach and team manager, said if the decision to send the national Under-23 players for training overseas, it cannot be for just a short period but must be at least for a whole season.

"Programmes like this must go on for at least a season not just a short stint like what was done before," he told Bernama when contacted here Wednesday.He cited the decision to place some players at renown clubs in the world, for short stints.Among players who had short stints were Mohd Akmal Rizal Ahmad Rakhli, Juzaili Samion (Strasbourg FC, France), Mohd Rudie Ramli, Mohd Fadzli Saari (SV Wehen, Germany), Baddrol Bakhtiar, Mohd Bunyamin Omar (Chelsea, England) and Mohd Asrarudin Putra Omar (PSV Eindhoven, Holland)."

Apart from training, players need competitive matches regularly to experiment what they have learned in training. They must play competitive matches at least once a week. If just training, they can even do it here," he said.

Ghani Minhat feels his views were valid since players would be able to play at least two competitive matches a week when they represent their respective teams in the M-League.The man, known as 'Raja Bola' for his exploits as a player during his heydays in the 1960s, also expressed concern over the kind of support and cooperation from players where they would be attached."Each club or country will have their own style and training routine.

So, to place them with different clubs may be similar to playing for different clubs in the M-League," he said.Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek had recently proposed to retain the national Under-23 team that won the gold medal in the Laos SEA Games after 20 years, instead of going back to their respective state or club teams to play in the M-League.The proposal was initially shot down by FAM because the players had already signed up to play for their respective teams, but later agreed to the ministry's proposal, and find ways to see the proposal becoming a reality.-- BERNAMA