02 February, 2009

Axe falls on Malaysia coach

Malaysian coach B. Sathianathan has been sacked by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Team manager Soh Chin Aun was also stripped of his role in a meeting on Sunday.

FAM deputy president Redzuan Sheikh Ahmad confirmed the news saying, “The meeting... unanimously agreed to end Sathianathan's contract with one month's notice for a number of reasons while Soh Chin Aun's service will stop immediately.”

The news comes just two weeks after Malaysia lost 5-0 to the UAE.

FAM Terminate Coach Sathianathan, Team Manager Chin Aun

PETALING JAYA, Feb 1 (Bernama) -- The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) today decided to terminate the contracts of national head coach B. Sathianathan and national team manager Datuk Soh Chin Aun.

FAM deputy president Datuk Redzuan Tan Sri Sheikh Ahmad said the termination of Sathianathan and Chin Aun's contracts was to pave the way for new faces to head the national football team.

"The FAM executive committee meeting chaired by FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah were unanimous in their decision to terminate Sathianathan and Chin Aun's services. Sathianathan will be given a month's notice while Chin Aun's termination takes effect immediately," Redzuan told reporters at Wisma FAM after a three-hour meeting here today.

Redzuan however, did not reveal the actual reasons for the termination of the duo's contracts but football critics feel the 0-5 defeat to UAE in the Asian Cup qualifiers last Wednesday and Sathianathan's comment about the M-League could have weighed heavily against him.

"The post of the new head coach will be discussed soon by the management committee for the national team headed by Sultan Ahmad Shah," he said.

Redzuan added that FAM had identified a list of local coaches to replace Sathianathan who had guided the national Under-23 squad to win the Merdeka Cup in 2007 before being appointed head coach of the senior team in September 2007.

As for the post of team manager, Redzuan said Datuk Capt. Gulzar Mohamad, one of the four FAM vice presidents, would replace Chin Aun who was actually a stand in manager for FAM deputy president Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

"Khairy was initially appointed team manager but since he could not fully commit himself, he had sought Chin Aun's assistance," he said.

He added that the committee also decided in today's meeting that seven states and clubs that still owed players and coaches RM620,000 in arrears as wages, must settle the outstanding amount by Dec 31 or face drastic action.

"If they failed to settle the arrears, FAM will take drastic action, including barring them from competing in the M-League next season," he said.

FAM has also picked a seven-member delegation to meet Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Wednesday to discuss the direction and future of Malaysian football, he said.


The public is losing patience with Malaysian football because of its lack of success.

Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is one of them. That’s why he has embarked on a mission to save Malaysian football from falling further into the abyss.

“I believe all of us are getting a bit impatient with the state of Malaysian football. I can understand their sentiments,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) gave head coach B. Sathianathan the boot today, two of his predecessors have only one thing in common in their reactions.

They both agree FAM has to do something.

Wan Jamak Wan Hassan who now trains the Negeri Sembilan squad, said Sathianathan's sacking after two years of service as the national coach, has pros and cons.

It was clear that when a team failed to perform, he said, something had to be done immediately and he sympathised with Sathianathan.

"But what he should have been aware of is that his sweeping remarks would strike him back because FAM the employer also has a right to defend its reputation," he said.

He was referring what Sathianathan had said -- "the Malaysian League is not football" -- after the team lost 0-5 to United Arab Emirates in an Asian Cup qualifier recently.

The other former national coach, Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, said sacking the national coach has become a normal occurrance as far as FAM is concerned "but sacking Sathianathan is not the best solution to bring back national glory".

FAM should look into the root cause of the problem, he said.

"FAM also has to be bold in making drastic changes especially in its development programmes and developing young talents," he said.

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