Rash RM5mil reward, unworthy heroes’ welcome for Harimau Malaya

Absurdly, the national football squad received a heroes’ welcome yesterday despite their early exit from the Asian Cup in Qatar.

It was the first time the red carpet was rolled out for sporting failures in the country.

Youth and sports minister Hannah Yeoh led the circus with puppy-dog excitement, and congratulated the players, coaches and officials at KLIA.

Hours before the farce, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced a questionable RM5 million allocation to develop the national football team.

Never before has a sports team that had flopped at an international tournament received such a windfall.

It was a thoughtless allocation and an unworthy celebration. In any other country, people would hurl abuses at the flops.

Fans were told the 3-3 drama-soaked draw against South Korea and the narrow 1-0 loss to Bahrain were a mighty achievement. The 4-0 rout by Jordan was seemingly immaterial.

Harimau Malaya, laden with naturalised and heritage players, got one point from three games, finished bottom of their group, and failed to qualify for the round of 16.

Malaysia’s football illusion that they are back to Asian standards has been somewhat shattered. Neighbours Indonesia and Thailand are in the knockout phase.

I don’t wish to be mean-spirited, especially after Harimau Malaya’s second-half treble espresso performance against the Koreans, but the bias towards football captured the government’s disconnect with reality.

How did the government get itself into a position where it chucked millions for the national team at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM)?

Malaysian hockey chief Subahan Kamal must be wondering why the men’s team that bombed earlier at the Paris Olympic qualifier in Oman had been ignored.

He, too, needs money to grow the national team that registered two wins, a draw and two defeats.

Perhaps the only way for him to get funding and acceptance is to initiate a naturalisation programme.

Yeoh said the government was helping FAM because its president, Hamidin Amin, was always seeking funds for training and international exposure, and that he is finding it tough to do so.

So, too, is Subahan, who needs RM12 million a year for various purposes.

In fact, every other sports association is in dire need of money to carry out their activities.

To say financial support is vital for football because it’s the country’s number one sport is like saying nothing else matters.

To make matters worse, Malaysia’s hockey matches at Muscat were not televised live, while football came into living rooms and on giant screens at stadiums nationwide.

Is this how sport is promoted in Malaysia? Is this how you create a sports-loving nation?

If we were to be brutal, we can pick apart FAM.

For the moment, I shall stick with the lack of success of the Malaysia Football League, unpaid salaries of players from several clubs, inept junior development, and years of policy blunders and ineffectiveness that have affected FAM’s reputation.

Making populist and right decisions needs a lot of wisdom, and careful understanding. You can’t have both most of the time.

Funny how it works, eh?


The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.

This article was originally published by a www.freemalaysiatoday.com . Read the Original article here. .