Rush RM5mil Reward, Welcome Unworthy Heroes to Harimau Malaya

Absurdly, the national soccer team received a hero’s welcome yesterday despite their early exit from the Asian Cup in Qatar.

It was the first time in Japan that a red carpet was rolled out for a sports failure.

Minister of Youth and Sports Hannah Yeo led the circus with puppy-like excitement and congratulated the KLIA athletes, coaches and officials.

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

Never before has a sports team received such a windfall after failing in an international tournament.

It was a thoughtless assignment and a worthless celebration. In other countries, people would give flops a bad name.

Fans said the drama-filled 3-3 draw with South Korea and narrow 1-0 loss to Bahrain were great achievements. At first glance, Jordan’s 4-0 loss seemed inconsequential.

Harimau Malaya, which has naturalized and traditional players, finished last in their group with only one point from three games, missing out on advancing to the round of 16.

The illusion that Malaysian football had returned to Asian standards has been somewhat shattered. Neighboring countries Indonesia and Thailand are in the knockout stage.

I don’t want to say anything mean, especially after Harimau Malaya’s treble espresso performance in the second half of the game against South Korea, but it highlighted the government’s disconnect with reality due to its prejudice against soccer.

How did the government find itself in a position to spend millions of dollars on the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) national team?

Malaysia’s head of hockey, Subahan Kamal, must be wondering why the men’s team was ignored after the bombing at the Paris Olympic qualifiers in Oman.

He also needs money to improve his national team, which has a record of 2 wins, 1 draw and 2 losses.

Perhaps the only way for him to gain funding and acceptance would be to start a naturalization program.

Mr Yeo said the government is supporting FAM because its chairman, Hamidin Amin, is constantly seeking funding for training and international exchanges, which he finds difficult.

Subahan is similar, requiring RM12 million annually for various purposes.

In fact, any other sports organization is in great need of funds to carry out its activities.

To say that football is the number one sport in this country and that financial support is essential is to say that nothing else is important.

To make matters worse, the Malaysian hockey match in Muscat was not broadcast live on television, while the soccer was shown on giant screens in tea rooms and stadiums across the country.

Is this the way sports are promoted in Malaysia? Is this how you create a nation that loves sports?

To be cruel, you can tear FAM apart.

For now, I will be highlighting the Malaysian Football League’s lack of success, the unpaid salaries of some clubs’ players, inadequate junior development, and the long-standing policy failures and incompetence that have affected FAM’s reputation.

Making the right populist decisions requires a lot of wisdom and careful understanding. Most of the time you can’t have both.

The way it works is interesting.

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

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