JOHOR BARU, Oct 13 — Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Ibrahim will personally take a “hands-on” approach on issues related with the national football team.
For a start, he will look into the selection of players. While he too was at odds with some quizzical choices, national coach Nelo Vingada has been “vindicated”.
“The biggest problem with the national squad now is the lack of a winning mentality among players which is the most tedious element in transforming the strength of the team,” the FAM chief said during a dialogue at JDT Cafe in Padang Seri Gelam here on Wednesday night.
Tunku Ismail, who is also the Tunku Mahkota Johor (TMJ), said at present there is no harmony in the team and he will need to make decisions when it came to players for national selection.
“It is not that I want to interfere, but I feel some players in the national team should not be there. Why do we keep taking these players?”
Tunku Ismail’s comments come in the wake of Tuesday’s embarrassing defeat for Harimau Malaya after it lost 2-0 to Hong Kong in a return qualifying match.
The national team also lost to Lebanon and drew with Hong Kong in earlier qualifier matches.
On the latest match against Hong Kong, Tunku Ismail said he somehow knew that the national team would fare badly and he did not harbour high expectations.
He also did not blame any particular player, not even captain Safiq Rahim who received a red card for stamping on Hong Kong’s Daniel Rodriguez.
Tunku Ismail also disagreed that coach Vingada should be given the axe as manager and chief coach following the series of losses in important matches especially in the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifying.
He believed that national fortunes in international matches will not change drastically even if Vingada was discarded following his failure to bring success.
“If Vingada is sacked, you will still have the same problem. The reality is when setting up the club (JDT), we needed two to three years to instil a winning mentality,” explained Tunku Ismail.
The dialogue featured several panel members including sports commentator Abu Bakar Atan, Tabah Syazwan of Media Prima Bhd and Vijhay Vick of FourFourTwo as well as Ooi Kin Fai of Goal.com representing local football fans.