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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

AFF Suzuki Cup not Malaysia's priority?

Pic by Helmi Dawi,

Well at least it appears so for the FA of Malaysia and newly signed Johor forward Norshahrul Idlan Talaha?

Why else would his contract issue with former side Kelantan be more important than focusing on the AFF Suzuki Cup?

Malaysia had lost the opening match to Singapore. It was a heavy and humiliating 3-0 defeat.

However, instead of focussing solely on that - like what they do in truly professional do - FAM heard Norshahrul's case in a Status Committee meeting yesterday. The now former Kelantan striker was also present at FAM.

It is not about whether he can remain focus. But do we usually hear players in bigger footballing countries saying "We'll sort it out after the tournament" or something along those lines when questioned of their transfer to a new club during an on-going tourney?

But here we have a striker and an organisation that saw great urgency in concluding his club contractual issue. Perhaps, there was pressure from up above?

Read Get your priorities right for the full story.

Nt: Why are we still talking about past successes and how we did it, when we are told to forget the past disappointments? I'm dumbfounded!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A wet affair? - AFF Suzuki Cup

Someone might as well sell raincoats outside the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil for the next one week.

It is a wet season after all - and if you think you'll be covered during the match times at least, think again.

There are gaping holes on the Stadium roof that would allow rain through should there be any. has more on it here.

So, the time has come for Harimau Malaya to wake up from their recent hibernation. Four friendlies were played, four disappointing acts were recorded. But does that give a definite answer as to how they'll fare in the AFF Suzuki Cup?

In previous years - the last AFF Suzuki Cup, SEA Games (2009 & 2011) - the team's chances were dismissed but they went on to win those tournaments to earned the title "Kings of Southeast Asia". It's the same now, can they repeat history?

Let's hope so.

One thing for sure is that national coach K. Rajagobal and his army are ready for Singapore. Open the Lions' den?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

PM's historic visit disrupts training

It was a historic visit nonetheless. But shouldn't this had happened during lunch or prior to the training?

Before that... read Historic Visit for what Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had to say to the players during his brief visit to Wisma FAM in Kelana Jaya yesterday.
“Winning or losing will depend on the circumstances and luck but you have to give your 100 per cent commitment and work as a team,” Najib told the players.
While the PM's presence was seen a show of faith by national coach K. Rajagobal, his body language spoke a different tone prior to the arrival of the Premier.


Simple. It is crucial time for the Harimau Malaya. They took the field for their physical routine as early as 5pm but were forced to get indoors at approximately 5.15pm as the greet session could not be held outdoor because the skies threatened to open.

Najib was expected to arrive with his entourage, which included Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahamd Shabery Cheek, at 5.30pm. However, as the skies cleared, the event was pushed to the outdoors again to await the PM, who we were told was still in Putrajaya.

As he arrived at 6.10, watched the players train and gave his words of wisdom to the players before departing 20 minutes later.

The visit was in good faith and could only mean good but it should not have interrupted training. Halting training twice due to red tape is not what the players need ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup opening match against Singapore on Sunday.

Ps. The event was supposed to be a closed one with only official media (Bernama, RTM, and 1Malaysia TV) present but as Sports writers and pixmen from other organisation were there to their job, a certain aide of the PM was seen running around frantically trying to keep the rest at bay.

Sigh, why the exclusivity?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rajagobal prepared for drastic changes

Just four days to the start of the AFF Suzuki Cup. Just fours days till Malaysia play Singapore. Just four days for Malaysia to dwell upon the disappointing four preparation matches they had played.

A losing start is never fatal but should Malaysia not get three points against Singapore, things may not be good as it could all boil down to seeking a good goal difference advantage against Laos and a positive result against Indonesia.

Problem is Malaysia are finding it hard to get it going up front. Only two goals were scored in their last four matches while the defence let in five.

The Tigers, under K. Rajagobal have always rose to the occasion. Remember the Sea Games in 2009 and last AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010?. No one gave them a chance then.

But this time is it different?

Pic by (Helmi Dawi)

One thing that is different is that national coach K. Rajagobal, the man who has long publicly defended his boys, lost his cool with the players after draw with lowly Bangladesh yesterday.
"I am going to be very stern with the players. If they don’t change the way they have been playing, I’m ready to make drastic changes, even dropping players; I don’t care! 
"There must be changes and if there aren’t, I will make changes to the team” warned Rajagobal.
For more read Players make Rajagobal-listic, Rajagobal: Change or be changed and here's the match report of yesterday game, Another disappointing act.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wake up, Malaysia!

It is going to be tough. 

They say winning a trophy is easier than keeping it. Malaysia are on a mission - that is to defend the AFF Cup.

But first Malaysia needs to Wake Up.

National coach K. Rajagobal is understandably disappointed that some of his players let him down. 
I am disappointed with the result. The players need to wake up before the AFF Suzuki Cup. Mistakes do happen, but they have to have the confidence to get back up,” said the 56-year-old. 
The 1-1 draw against Hong Kong was not the result the players needed. Coming after successive defeats to Vietnam and Thailand it was a telling sign. The players need to buck up, raise their spirits and believe in themselves once again.

With just 10 days to the start of the regional games, the above saying may come back to bite the Harimau Malaya.

Hopefully, as Rajagobal mentioned during the post match press conference, "the players can't give excuses if they don't perform against Bangladesh and the AFF."

The sight of the Ultras Malaya chanting the team on was a sight I'd like to see the Bukit Jalil filled with come Nov 25 onwards.

Ps. There's a new look for