Replacing national team coach not the answer, says Khairy

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Replacing the coach is not the solution to salvage the drastic drop in the standard and performance of the national football team.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the main reason for the national team’s poor performances is due to a poor development structure in the past.

"Even if we change the coach now, we may not see any immediate positive improvement. Therefore whatever decision is taken by the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) involving the coach, the new coach will also be saddled with the same problem.

“To me, changing the coach alone will not solve the problem 100 percent. The failure is in the structure from the past," he told reporters after a TN50 Muafakat Aspirasi Generasi Baharu Felda Dialogue at Menara Felda.

Khairy was commenting on a call by former international Santokh Singh to urge head coach Nelo Vingada to step down as a mark of respect to local football fans.

Under Vingada (photo), who was appointed to the post about six months ago, the national team has not won a single match after seven outings and failed to qualify for the 2019 Asia Cup.

The latest in the list of defeats were back-to-back 1-4 defeats to North Korea in their Group B Asia Cup qualifying matches.

Apart from the losses in the Asia Cup qualifying, the national team had also lost both the friendly matches played under his charge, namely a 0-1 loss to Myanmar and 1-2 defeat to Syria.

Khairy also called on local football fans to not punish the national team or coach for their defeats, but continue to provide support because the future of football in the country would improve in the next five years if the recent results in age group competitions was any indication.

The national Under-16 squad under the National Football Development Project (NFDP) qualified for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC Cup U-16)  competition.

The national Under-19 squad qualified for the 2018 AFC Cup U-19 competition, while the National Under-23 squad under Ong Kim Swee created history by qualifying for the AFC Cup Under-23 finals in January.

"If we look at football development in the country now, NFDP under the tutelage of the Ministry of Youth and Sports has played an important role in the success of the U-16, U-19 and U-23. The future of Malaysian football is therefore, bright.

"I have observed that the FAM is introducing a development system which is more organised with new ideas. The new plan is to introduce Division Four to provide young talented players a platform to hone their skills in a more structured environment," he said.

- Bernama

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