DON'T BLAME THEM: LionsXII were deserved winners of the Super League crown. FAM, however, must get more out of the exchange programme with FAS.
WINNING or losing is part of the game.
Sadly, some have begun to point fingers at the FA of Malaysia (FAM) after LionsXII confirmed their Super League title last night. They say it is shameful and FAM should not have allowed the Singaporean side to play in the M-League.
Giving excuses have long been a tradition when things don’t work, but since when did we become sore losers?
There are reasons to question FAM’s policy makers over Lions’ inclusion in the league.
What FAM must answer is, what did we gain from the exchange programme with FA of Singapore (FAS)?
The answer is zilch.
Ong Kim Swee’s Harimau Muda did play in the S-League last year, but they bolted at the first available chance as the league did not offer the desired competitiveness. This year, Harimau Muda B, were sent but that was only to honour the exchange agreement.
The M-League is not the best of leagues, but the S-League is in greater doldrums. The big wigs in FAM should have thought this further.
The usage of the synthetic field is another matter. It is a FIFA approve pitch and we must not find excuses when Malaysian teams struggle there. Some local teams did come very close to beating LionXII at home.
But, why did FAM bent the rules on visiting teams training at the Jalan Besar Stadium one day prior to match? Normally, teams are allowed to train at the away pitch, but Malaysian teams are not given this privilege as the S-League is going on.
Isn’t that an unfair advantage, given that none of the Malaysians teams play on a synthetic pitch?
Singapore obviously have more to gain from this agreement. They have already won the AFF Suzuki Cup, with large portion of LionsXII players.
Now, the Super League is in their trophy cabinet. At the SEA Games in Myanmar later this year, the Singaporean Under-23 would be filled with LionsXII players minus several overage players such as Baihakki Khaizan, Shahril Ishak, Irwan Shah or Isa Halim.
Granted it will not be an as efficient squad as the LionsXII, but with the players all having a full season of competitive football in Malaysia, Singapore already looked like a ready side.
Remember how no one, not even the Singaporean press, expected the Lions to win the AFF Suzuki Cup?
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FAM and FA Singapore ends in 2015. FAM should have only two options then; 1. Decide against its continuance or, 2. Find ways to milk more out of the programme.
LionsXII provided stiff competition in the Super League season and we must acknowledge that.
But what FAM must do is find a positive factor to this one-sided exchange programme.
Otherwise, it will all just be in the spirit of the ‘Asean’ brotherhood' without any benefit to Malaysia.
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