The Fall of Malaysian Football – Future Whipping Boys of Asia?

Everyone knows it. Malaysian football is at its lowest ever. While every other nation on the planet moves forward in terms of their football, Malaysia only seems to be going backwards. Numbers do not lie. We are now ranked 162nd out of 209 in the latest FIFA ranking. Not so long ago, we were at 166, that is 91 positions down from 75th spot, our best ever position in 1993 when the FIFA ranking was introduced. Yes, since the ranking was introduced Harimau Malaya have only gone downhill.

Harimau Malaya went as high as 75th in 1993

166th in May 2015

How important is the FIFA ranking? It determines how countries will be seeded for World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers. The lower you are ranked, the more chances you will have facing stronger teams. This will definitely make tasks a lot more difficult. In the case of Asia, the 12 lowest ranked teams will have to go through a qualifying phase to be in the qualifiers. Malaysia is not far off from that. Harimau Malaya are currently 17th from bottom among Asian nations. With the rate Guam and Hong Kong are going, that bottom 12 couldn’t come any faster.

World Cup qualifying rules for AFC

In the current World Cup Qualifying campaign for Russia 2018, Malaysia sits in a group with United Arab Emirates (73rd), Saudi Arabia (98th), Palestine (118th), Timor-Leste (146th). Yes, Harimau Malaya is the lowest ranked team in the group. After 2 games (a final minute collapse to draw 1-1 with Timor-Leste and a GST-esque whitewash at the hands of Palestine, both at home) in which the team was “supposed” to win, things are not looking any brighter.

Humiliated at SNBJ

Harimau Malaya still have to face them away and are yet to play the group favourites. I can only hope that the team do not concede more than 20 goals after this qualifying campaign is over.

The recent drubbing at the heads and feet of Palestine is the second time this year that Harimau Malaya have lost by a scoreline of 6-0. The other was against Oman. This equals our third biggest defeat but the first time that Harimau Malaya have been humiliated twice in a year (and there is still another half a year to go). It will be a painful year for Malaysian football fans. The last win for Harimau Malaya was the second leg AFF Suzuki Cup final last December against Thailand which the team lost on aggregate.

Oman gave Harimau Malaya a GST-esque drubbing

The only other match played this year was a 0-0 draw against Hong Kong. At around the same time Malaysia is having a horrible spell, Guam just defeated India and Turkmenistan. Singapore held Japan to a goaless draw at Saitama Stadium. Myanmar and Laos only had narrow 2-0 losses against South Korea and Lebanon respectively. Philippines beat Yemen 2-0. Timor-Leste lost 1-0 to the UAE. Thailand beats Taiwan. Cambodia lost 1-0 to Afghanistan. Hong Kong beats Maldives 2-0.

The only other game to have a similar scoreline was China’s 6-0 rout of Bhutan (Bhutan lost 7-0 to Hong Kong). Is that the level Harimau Malaya is at?

After all this, the Malaysian national coach Dollah Salleh has refused to resign saying he isn’t a coward. There is a difference between not being a coward and being stubborn. In this case, the coach is an idiot. Giving all sorts of excuses. It seems the training in Japan did not help. The circus game against a Tottenham side playing at leisurely pace didn’t help either.

"Saya bukan pengecut" - I'm not a coward

Players are not up to the task. The current players that play for the national side are arguably not the best options. Do they even have the heart to play for the national team? There is no cohesion or teamwork. Everyone wants to be a prima donna. Everyone is looking for personal glory. When fans criticise their play, they get worked up and curse fans in return. There is no respect to fans as professionals. Players only wish to get off the field as soon as possible. There is no discipline on and off the field. Tempers flare during games and players get frustrated too quickly. Everyone wants to be Mario Balotelli.

None of the Harimau Malaya's starting evelen against Palestine were from the FA Cup finalist or league leaders

How some of these players are chosen to represent Malaysia is a public mystery. There is too much favoritism and corruption in picking players, not only at national level but all the way down to club level. Real talents are wasted. Instead we get players who are more concerned with how they look on TV as opposed to how they play. Players who are more concerned about getting the hot chicks and cashing in the big bucks.

There is nothing wrong about living a celebrity life (it's their choice), but if you're a footballer, football comes first.

For these amounts, Malaysian football deserves more

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has not been doing their job either. The whole organisation from top to bottom is corrupted. I could go on and on about the flaws of the system, but that will be a topic for another day.

For now, I just want to point out that our national team is starting to become the laughing stock of Asian/World football. FAM and the national team is disorganised and something has to be done if we do not want to be in Asia’s bottom 12.

Even our fans, Ultras Malaya are more organised. The FAM can only condemn the ultras, but have they not realised that without them our stadiums are empty and quiet. Most fans have stayed away from stadiums because they have lost hope. The Ultras Malaya stays on. There is a reason why the ultras are frustrated. Just look at the numbers.

Ultras Malaya during 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Final 2nd leg

After the Timor-Leste game, the question was how much lower can we get. Well, we’ve managed to go a step lower now and if things don’t change, it’s off the cliff (to use downhill would be an understatement).

These are the Asian teams ranked below Harimau Malaya:

Hong Kong, Yemen, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Guam, Laos, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, Nepal, Brunei, Macau, Sri Lanka, Mongolia.

Guam and Hong Kong are flying. Heck, even Bhutan is above us in the rankings.

Bhutan's National Stadium

Bukit Jalil National Stadium

With games against Saudi Arabia and the UAE still to come, I imagine it is going to get worse for Harimau Malaya.

How much more of an ass whooping do we need before a change finally happens? Every football fan in Malaysia is frustrated that nothing is being done. Only lame excuses given.

Harimau Malaya has turned into a circus tiger. The Malayan tiger (panthera tigris jacksoni) has been classified as endangered species. Looks like the national football team is following suit.

If this continues, Harimau Malaya will be the new whipping boys of Asia.

“Dah bertahun main macam setan, itu pun kau tak perasan, oh FAM apa yang kau buat”


Post a Comment