Foreign players to know fate today

By ERIC SAMUEL

The FA of Malaysia (FAM) Council will meet today to decide on the foreign players’ fate.

The council, headed by FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah, will deliberate on the findings of the two-day brain-storming session organised last month.

The two-day session concluded that the presence of these foreign players had more cons than pros on Malaysian football.

Judging from the feedback from coaches and officials, it appears that the FAM are likely to close the door on the imports for a second time since the 2001-2002 season.

The majority of the State FAs are also against foreign players. But theirs is for a different reason – financial constraint.

FAM competitions committee chairman Datuk Che Mat Jusoh said that whatever decision is taken by the Council would be in the best interest of the national team.

“We are going to put the national team above all. Everything we plan will be in line with the objective of the national team,” said Che Mat, who is also a FAM vice-president.

The Super League, launched in 2004, was supposed to mark a new chapter in Malaysian football.

The brainchild of former FAM deputy president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the league was supposed to yield results – positive signs and changes in the overall structure, organisation and attitude of the officials and players – in three years.

Unfortunately, Malaysian football’s fortunes continued to spiral downwards, going from bad to worse.

FAM had, in 1989, introduced a Semi-Pro League before turning it fully pro in 1994.

The results have been the same – mediocre at best.

Even the national team, whose last major success was qualifying for the Moscow Olympics in 1980, have struggled to make an impact at regional level.

The national team are now ranked 166th, behind the likes of Seychelles, Myanmar and Mauritius.

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