Our Malaysian football team had never been qualified to World Cup but in 60’s until 80’s we had one of the best team in Asia that had qualified to Asian Cup, getting a bronze medal in the Asian Games, had qualified to the Olympic Games , have one of the best striker and goalkeeper in the form of Mokhtar Dahari and B. Arumugam, beating Arsenal team in a friendly, had won the SEA games 4 times, and had gained great result in the Asian and international stages.
We had our own golden period from 1972 until 1980 where he had qualified for 2 Olympic games and 2 Asian games. In 1972 when the Malaysian team had qualified for Olympic we had been in the group with the West Germany , Morroco, and the USA. We had gained our first win in the Olympic games via a win with USA 3-0 but lose out to West Germany and Morroco the first group stages but the Malaysian become the first South East Asia team to qualify for the Olympic.
Then in 1976 we had qualified for the AFC Asia Cup but also were knocked out in the group stages and in 1980 we had qualified for the 2 competition one is Olympic Games and Asia Cup. In the Asia Cup we had been knocked out in the first round and for the 1980 Olympics, we did not participate due to a boycott of 67 countries for the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. After this golden period we had to endure our own dark ages until now in footballing term.
After this time , we had never qualified to Olympic Games, Asia Cup , Asian Games , and the trophy and medal that we had won is the 1989 , 2009 and 2011 SEA Games gold medal and also the AFF Championship in 2010.In the 70’s we had beaten the Phillipines 15-0 but now we had been beaten by UAE 10-0 , Palestine 6-0 and our ranking is 167 as most of the SEA(South East Asia) countries except for Brunei,Laos and Indonesia is above us.
Although we still have some outstanding player like Mubin Mokhtar, Khairul Azman Mohammad, K Sanbagamaran, Azman Adnan,Matlan Marjan and much more we are unable to replicate the glory day of our national team eventhough at that time it was semi professional and now it is a professional era.
During this time we had organised the FIFA Under 21 Youth Championship in 1997 and co-shared the 2007 Asian Cup with Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam to gain some exposure but they are something missing that makes us unable to replicate the glory day of our national team.
On contrary during our glory day our Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president although they are from royal background like the First President Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj whom also the first Prime Minister of Malaysia have an enourmous passion for the game. He is the mastermind of the Merdeka Tournament or Pestabola Merdeka in Malay where its purpose to be center pieces of the Merdeka celebrations and still actively participate in the football development even after his retirement.
The next president is the second Prime Minister YAB Tun Abdul Razak and he had been in the post for just 1 year. The next president of FAM is Sri Datuk Seri Setia Raja Hamzah Haji Abu Samah whom is the Ministry of Trade and Industry at that time and under him Malaysian football had reached a new height by qualifying for the Olympic and also for the Asia Cup.
Sri Datuk Seri Setia Raja Hamzah Haji Abu Samah
After him the Royal Highness Sultan of Pahang , Sultan Ahmad Shah had taken over and the era of professionalism in Malaysia football had begun in 2004. But during this time Malaysian football had hit an all-time low in term of defeat in international stages. Although the downfall of our football can’t be attributed completely to the current FAM president they are several factors that had contributed to this.
The football state does not have a youth system like the one in Ajax, Barcelona and Mancheser United to have a sustatained success. And the states in some instance does properly pay the player salaries that had led to some player taking the bribe and this had led to 1994 football corruption scandal that had led several players were arrested due to involvement in the corruption scandal.
A politician running the football is not a bad idea if he had passion for the game like in AC Milan where it was run by Silvio Berlusconi the Italian Prime Minister at that time where under him AC Milan had reached the pinnacle in the history of the club. Even in our country the Royal Highness Sultan of Pahang and his son Tengku Abdullah had a big ambition for Malaysian football at that time where they had talked to FIFA to organising the World Cup in Malaysia but unfortunately not approved by FIFA.
Currently Tengku Mahkota Johor (TMJ) had been critizing FAM from all corners and at the some time making Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) one of the best team not only in Malaysia but also in the Asian competition as JDT become the first Malaysian team to won a continental competition by winning the 2015 AFC Cup and making JDT become the first team to win the Malaysia League in 3 consective times.
Alhough we may like TMJ to become the FAM president based on what he did for JDT but the point is we need someone whom had similar passion and have a long term vision for Malaysian football like our 1st FAM president and also the 3rd one. And with the long term vision and will to implement we may get back our glory day where in the 70’s and 80’s if we had sustained the success or improve on it we may had been in World Cup by now.
We can see our football back to the glory day of 70’s and 80’s and maybe better than that if everything is perfectly aligned for success in the footballing term. Until then we can only reflect only on how good we are those days and at some time feeling sad for the current football situation