Malaysia chief to quit after 10-0 defeat
MALAYSIA'S football chief announced plans to step down yesterday after a record 10-0 defeat which cost the coach his job and prompted the sports minister to threaten to suspend the country's football body.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tengku Abdullah Ahmad Shah said he would gradually step aside, state-run Bernama news agency reported, without giving further details.
"I will step down in stages because there are a lot more matters in FAM that I have to complete," he was quoted as saying. No timetable was given for his exit.
He added that he would like the FAM to appoint his deputy, Afandi Hamzah, as acting president.
"I no longer wish to play a role in observing and making plans for 2023, so don't waste time, let's move on. If possible, do the post-mortem and make preparations from now," he was quoted as saying by Astro Awani.
"FAM must rebuild Harimau Malaya soonest, including the possibility of changing its players and coaches, for the sake of Malaysian football."
Tengku Abdullah had taken over from his father Sultan Ahmad Shah as president of FAM in May last year.
The 84-year-old Sultan, who was elected FAM president in 1984, had said that he wanted to make way for younger leaders.
Coach Dollah Salleh resigned on Saturday, two days after last week's embarrassing World Cup qualifying defeat by the United Arab Emirates - Malaysia's worst loss ever.
The result has proved a tipping point for Malaysia, who were also held 1-1 at home by low-ranking Timor-Leste and lost 6-0 to Palestine earlier in their qualifying campaign.
Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin on Sunday warned of "drastic" measures against FAM if it continued to "recycle" old excuses for losing, the New Straits Times reported.
He said one option would be a move similar to that by Indonesia's football body, which suspended the country's top domestic league in April after a dispute with the sports ministry.
"I can call for a suspension of FAM, just like how Indonesia did to their national body," Mr Khairy said.
But he called this a "last resort" as it could trigger sanctions from world football body Fifa, which has suspended Indonesia from international competition.
Three games into the second round, Malaysia, who face heavyweights Saudi Arabia today, are at the bottom of Group A, below Timor-Leste with a goal difference of minus 16.
The FAM has named former Malaysian Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee as interim manager, and hinted it may hire a foreigner to lead the team in the future.
Ong said yesterday that he was counting on his players to "bounce back" against the Saudis.
"They deserve a second chance. It was a nightmare experience. Everyone is disappointed," he said.