Dec 30, 2010


Despite losing 2-1 in the second leg final of the AFF Suzuki Cup at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, the national team created history by defeating Indonesia on a 4-2 aggregate to become the new football champions of ASEAN.

To commemorate the historic win, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has declared Friday, December 31 2010, a public holiday. The public holiday announcement was made via national news agency Bernama

Indonesia won the second leg of the final 2-1 on Wednesday night while Malaysia had won the first leg 3-0 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

The scorers for Indonesia were Mohammad Ridwan (87th minute) and Mohammad Nasuha (71st). Safee Sali scored in the 53rd minute to put Malaysia 1-0 in the lead.

For Malaysia, this success is very significant as the last time the senior national team became champions in a regional competition was at the 1989 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. The Under 23 team won the gold medal at the last SEA Games in Laos

It was also the first time Malaysia wins the Asean Football Federation championship since its inception in 1996.

To make it a grand night for Malaysia, Safee won the Golden Boot award with five goals to his name. The striker was on target twice in the first leg.

Malaysia started with the same line-up that was fielded in the first leg, except for midfielder Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal and right-back Mahali Jasuli, who were suspended. They were replaced by Mohd Ashaari Shamsuddin and Mohd Sabree Abu respectively.

The Indonesians were without their inspirational flanker Okto Maniani, who was also out on suspension while striker Yongky Ari Bowo was out with an injury. Their replacements were Arif Suyono and Irfan Bachdim respectively.

As expected, Indonesia came charging from the starting whistle but the Malaysian defence led by Mohd Muslim Ahmad and Mohd Fadhli Shas did well to keep a tight leash on Indonesian dangermen Christian Gonzales and Irfan Bachdim.

But a lapse of concentration inside the box resulted in Indonesia winning a penalty in the 15th minute, when Mohd Sabree handled the ball.

However, much to the disappointment of the Indonesian fans, skipper Firman Utina’s tame kick was saved by Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.

Indonesians, who were desperate for an early goal, kept on pressing for the opening goal but Khairul Fahmi proved to be a stumbling block, denying at least five attempts at goal before the half-time break.

Malaysia took the lead against the run of play in the 53rd minute, when Ashaari sent a long through ball for Safee to chase, and the Selangor hitman scored a clinical goal.

Despite being a goal down, Indonesia never gave up and their persistence paid off as defender Mohammad Nasuha pounced on a loose ball from goalkeeper Khairul’s save to hit the roof of the net in the 71st minute.

Then with the clock ticking away, Muhammad Ridwan scored from a goal-mouth melee in the 87th minute but this was not enough to deny Malaysia the AFF-Suzuki Cup.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin congratulated the Malaysian football squad 'Harimau Malaya' for creating history by winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 after defeating Indonesia on a 4-2 aggregate.

He said the success was even sweeter for the national football squad after waiting for 14 years to emerge as the fourth Asean nation to win the trophy after Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam.

"The victory proves that nothing is impossible if we truly want to win. All the efforts, hard work and sacrifices made by the players, coaches, and team officials have clearly paid off with the success.

"Certainly every Malaysian is proud, touched and most of all, thankful because the success reflects the determination of the people concerned especially the players and coach, K. Rajagopal to become the champion," he said in a media statement, in Kuala Lumpur, Wednesday night.

Muhyiddin hoped the win would not make the players, coaches and team officials complacent because the challenges subsequently would be even more intense in future.

He also thanked and congratulated the supporters who had given their undivided support and encouragement to the national football squad.

"My appreciation is also directed at the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah who had succeeded in leading the Malaysian football to become the champion," he said.

Dec 28, 2010

Just Do It Malaysia

The Malaysian football team showed remarkable confidence as they prepare to take on Indonesia in the second leg final of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Wednesday.

With one hand already on the trophy after a 3-0 win in the first leg Sunday, team captain, Safiq Rahim echoed his teammates confidence by declaring, “We came here to win and I am confident we will return home as champions’.”

The 3-0 victory clearly put Malaysia as the clear favourites to win the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time ever, since the tournament’s inception in 1996.

Safiq, like most Malaysian football fans, feel that Indonesia will need a miracle to overturn the 3-0 deficit. Indonesia had trounced Malaysia 5-1 in the opening match on Dec 1, in Jakarta.
Safiq backed up his bold prediction by saying Indonesia, who trounced Malaysia 5-1 in the opening match in Jakarta on Dec 1, will need a miracle to overturn the 3-0 deficit.
"My teammates and I will have to stay focussed and continue to chase every opportunity with the hope of scoring more goals. The goals we scored were well earned and it will take a miracle for them to deny us,” added Safiq.
While it is admirable for the players to have such confidence, they must also be prepared to play their hearts out when they are on the field.
Chief coach, K.Rajagobal has made it clear that his team will be on the defensive. “No team can defend for 90 minutes. How we play would depend on the condition of the players,” said Rajagobal, who led the Under-23 team, which clinched the Sea Games gold last year.Rajagobal will use the last couple of training sessions to find replacements for suspended duo, Amirulhadi Zainal and Mahalli Jasuli. Indonesia also has to look for a replacement for speedy Oktovianus Maniani, who collected his second booking on Sunday.
Meanwhile chief coach of Alfred Riedl, the chief coach of Indonesia, has rated his team’s chances of winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 at just 5% to 10% - following the team’s 3-0 loss to Malaysia in the first leg final in Kuala Lumpur.

Dec 8, 2010


Now with the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts been decided, the football focus switches to Asia.

To be precise all attention will be on the January 6th, 2011 AFC Congress and election in Doha, Qatar.

It’s going to be a hot affair, not for the president’s seat which Mohamed bin Hammam has already bagged it with no opposition but there’ll be a ‘battle royale’ for the FIFA Vice-President’s (Asia) post.

Korea’s incumbent Dr. Chung Mong Joon, who has held this post for 16 long years, will be up against Prince Ali bin AL Hussein of Jordan.

Is the tide going to shift? Many in Asia want a change and could that be Prince Ali!

Of course, we cannot bypass the might and control Dr. Chung has. He afterall controls the second largest Korean company – HYUNDAI HEAVY INDUSTRIES GROUP.

But Prince Ali is gaining momentum and support for they believe that Prince Ali will be the voice of Asia in FIFA.

Prince Ali kicks-off the final lap of his campaign with a press conference today in Amman, Jordan, when he’ll unveil his football program.

As for Dr. Chung, he is still recovering from a bad dream after the recent FIFA World Cup bid selection.

Dr. Chung has been heavily criticised together with other FIFA Executive members and this will weigh down heavily in his battle with Prince Ali.

Prince Ali, the president of Jordan FA, succeeded in bringing his National youth team to the 2007 FIFA World Cup in Canada as well as three Jordanian national teams to the Asian finals in 2010, one of the few Asian countries to achieve this. Under his leadership, the National Women’s team has also dramatically risen in the latest FIFA Women’s world ranking

Prince Ali has also focused on invigorating Jordan’s youth team and strengthening football community centers across the country. He has promoted the game through education and culture.

In 2000, he established the West Asian Football Federation (WAFF), expanding the number of members, uniting the region’s football confederations and organizing and expanding international championships for men and women. He serves as President of the WAFF.

When I met Prince Ali two weeks ago in a private dinner, I was impressed by his humility. He didn’t portray his princely self but was very unassuming and down to earth. Prince Ali has a vision and mission for developing Asian football so it can rise to a higher competitive level.

JaiHo Malaysia will be following the AFC Congress closely ... more updates later.


His Royal Highness Prince Ali bin Al Hussein launched his four key football pillars in his quest for the FIFA Vice President’s seat in Asia.

At a press conference here today, Prince Ali, President of the Jordan Football Association and of the West Asia Football Federation, announced his vision for football in his run-up bid:

Ø Revitalizing the representation of member associations to FIFA.

Ø Focusing on Grassroot Youth Development in Asia.

Ø EMPOWERING Women’s Football in Asia.


HRH Prince ali bin al hussein

“I present myself to you as a dedicated listener, devoted football fan and a bridge within Asia and beyond’,” he declared in his message to all National Football Associations in Asia.

Prince Ali, 35, who has sent a letter to this effect, to all forty six (46) football associations in Asia, outlined his aims and vision. He added: “I will connect with you openly and advocate your causes and protect your rights in FIFA.”

He added that he will put the position of FIFA Vice-President (Asia) at the service of all Member Associations by establishing a ‘FIFA VP Development Fund’.

Prince Ali will personally invest in setting up the ‘FIFA VP Development Fund’ which will provide assistance to all Member Associations in Asia, in capacity building, technical support and grassroot initiatives

“This Fund will be available to all National Associations,” he said.

Building on his experience in developing youth football in Jordan and the region, Prince Ali stressed the importance of focussing on grassroot development as the second key pillar in his vision.

“As the largest and one of the youngest continent in the world, I strongly feel that youth participation in football today is a vital socioeconomic empowerment tool that will allow us to realise our potential,” he said. Prince Ali proposed the following for youth development:

Ø Launching grassroots initiatives in schools.

Ø Investing in elite youth players.

Ø Establishing talent identification programs.

To achieve the above, he will create a ‘dedicated grassroots bureau’ to intensify the focus of grassroot programs in all Member Associations.

As a strong advocate of women’s football, Prince Ali has proposed to introduce a professional football program for women and has offered it to all Member Associations to help raise the profile of women’s football in Asia.

“Asian women’s football has proven to be a remarkable success. We have to give the women more opportunities to play a greater proactive role on both local and national stages,” he pointed out.

Prince Ali strongly believes that more can be and must be done to strengthen women’s football.

And this, he said can be done by:

Ø Promoting women’s community football.

Ø Increasing the number of Asian teams participating at FIFA World Cups.

Ø Increasing the percentage of resources allocated to women’s football in the FIFA Financial Assistance Program.

Prince Ali underlined the need to work together with the Asian Member Associations and football leaders worldwide: “We need to engage in an open forum to exchange ideas, share experience in order to protect the elements of the game and ensure fairplay as a key FIFA principle.”

The election for the FIFA Vice-President (Asia) will be decided in Doha, Qatar on January 6th, 2011 at the Asian Football Confederation’s Congress.

Dec 1, 2010


His side may have ended their long gold medal drought at the South-east Asia Games last year but Malaysia team manager Datuk Subahan Kamal has insisted that his players will be under no pressure to emulate that feat in this year's AFF Suzuki Cup.

Malaysia have not reached the final of the Asean region's premier international football tournament since finishing runners-up to Thailand in the inaugural tournament in Singapore in 1996.

But while Subahan is keen to see the Tigers capture the elusive title, he admits that it may be too soon for his young side to end their long run of futility in the competition.

"We are in the process of building a strong and consistent team for the future so I do not want to put any pressure on the team for this year's AFF Suzuki Cup," said Subahan, a vice-president of the Football Association of Malaysia, to

"We are taking things one step at a time. Most of our players here are around 19 or 20 years old and they need to gain experience through playing at the Asian Games and AFF Suzuki Cup. Our target is to retain our SEA Games gold next year and to win the AFF Suzuki Cup in two years' time.

"Of course we would like to do well this year but we must be practical. It is not going to be easy as we are in a tough group with Indonesia and Thailand although we will give it a good go."

The focus on youth is apparent in coach K. Rajagopal's squad with six players plucked from the Harimau Muda (Young Tigers) national youth side. Two-thirds of his final 22-man squad were also in the side that competed at the recent Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Rajagopal though has had to contend with a rash of injuries that have sidelined a number of players including three – defender Norhafiz Zamani Misbah and strikers S. Chanturu and Ahmad Fakri Saarani – we played at the Asiad.

To help plug the gaps, defender Razman Roslan and veteran striker Amri Yahyah have been given late recalls for the AFF Suzuki Cup campaign, which begins tomorrow when Malaysia face hosts Indonesia in their Group A opener at the Gelora Bungkarno Stadium.

"We've got quite a lot of injuries and we've lost about eight of our regular players," Subahan explained.

"But we still have quite a decent side with a number of young players from our Harimau Muda squad as well as senior players like Amri Yahyah and Razman Roslan. It's a good mixture of juniors and seniors.

"The main thing for the team here is for the youngsters to try to get the experience that they need. Of course the players will give it a go and will try to win their games and reach the semi-finals, but that would be a bonus.

"But at the end of the day, the players will be under no pressure to get results here. We have set no targets for them but we expect them to play well and to show improvement. We would like for them to do well here but we'll have to see how it goes."

Malaysia squad
Goalkeepers: Khairul Fahmi Che Mat (Kelantan), Sharbinee Allawee (Terengganu)

Defenders: Sabre Abu (Kedah), Faizal Muhamad (Harimau Muda), Asraruddin Putra (Selangor), Razman Roslan (Selangor), Kharil Helmi (Kedah), Mahalli Jasuli (Harimau Muda), Muslim Ahmad (Harimau Muda), Mohd Fadhli Shas (Harimau Muda)

Midfielders: Safiq Raman (Selangor), Amar Rohidan (Perlis), Khyril Muhymen (Kedah), K. Gurusamy (Harimau Muda), S. Kunanlan (Negri Sembilan), Amri Yahyah (Selangor), Faizal Abu Bakar (Kedah), Mohd Amirulhadi Zainal (Selangor)

Forwards: Norshahrul Idlan (Kelantan), Safee Sali (Selangor), Mohd Ashari Samsuddin (Terengganu), Izzaq Faris Ramlan (Harimau Muda)-


Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president (left) and Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, Jordan FA president, discussed about Asian football when they met in Zurich recently.

Prince Ali, who is also the West Asia Football Federation president, discussed and exchanged football matters with Blatter specifically related to Jordan and Asia.

He expressed his gratitude for FIFA’s support to develop and strengthen football in Jordan and the Asian region.

“I’m looking forward to working together with President Blatter, football officials in Asia and the rest of the world for the benefit of the sport,” said Prince Ali.

He added: “There’s a lot of room for mutual cooperation in the world of football that we need to capitalize on.”

Prince Ali had in October announced his candidacy for the FIFA Vice President’s post representing Asia. The election will be held on January 6th, 2011 by the Asian Football Confederation in Doha, Qatar.

It is his hope to help bring change in representing Asia within FIFA with the objective of rejuvenating FIFA’s Asian representation.

“I want to reach out to meet the aspirations of the millions of young sports fans in the region who want to see Asian players take their rightful place on the world stage,” he expressed.