Crown Prince of Johor HRH Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim has expressed his frustration with the continuing decline of football in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign came to an end recently after they finished fourth on the Group A standings with just four points from eight matches.
During their journey, in which their only victory was a 1-0 win over Timor Leste, Malaysia were twice beaten 6-0 by Palestine and suffered a 10-0 hammering at the hands of the United Arab Emirates, the worst defeat in their history.
Malaysia went on to lose six of their eight games, but rather than blame the players, Crown Prince Ibrahim has pointed the finger at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) and the team’s coaching staff, which is headed by Ong Kim Swee.
The Crown Prince lashed out at FAM and the coaching team for their failure to step up and take responsibility for Malaysia’s dismal run of form.
“Look, I agree that they lack quality. But my statement was who’s at fault? I’m a military man and I’m trained to be responsible,” the Crown Prince wrote in his column on the official Johor Darul Ta’zim website. “If any of our soldiers are not fit to carry out their duties, who’s fault is that? It is our fault. Which means that we have the wrong system in place and we don’t train them well. We should be responsible.
“So now I ask the same question. If our footballers lack quality, who’s fault is that? It’s the system in our football associations and our coaches’ training. Simple. In these circumstances, the soldiers should not be blamed. It’s always the instructors. Same goes with football palyers. They are not wrong.
“It’s us as football associations and coaches who ought to be blamed. The quality of footballers at the end of the day comes down to their upbringing and training. Same with any military personnel. So my argument is that, we should not come out with a statement blaming the players.
“On the contrary, we big people in football clubs, associations and coaches should take responsibility and say that it’s our fault. That is called taking responsibility, and not just running away from one, blaming players, FAM, football associations and clubs.”
The 31-year-old also slammed FAM for sitting back and watching Malaysia continue to struggle rather than coming up with solutions to help the national team overcome their problems and prosper.
“I’m surprised that FAM and other affiliates are not interested to fix the problem by having a meeting when we already know what the problem is,” he said. That’s why in my statement I said no one really cares about Malaysian football except for me. Whether you like it or not I will continue to fight against any corrupted regime. You should stand together and demand changes.
“You can’t change something when you don’t know what’s the problem. That’s why I say the best way is to put me on live television so the whole country can know what is the actual problem. Enough with the cover up. Be transparent.”