BENTONG – The Tunku Mahkota of Johor (TMJ) Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim’s services are still needed to steer the FA of Malaysia (FAM) to bring back football excellence, said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He said there were no other individuals more qualified to replace Tunku Ismail because of his vision and role in the sport and that footballing excellence could not be achieved if he was not in FAM.
“He cannot leave national football … I was told by some of the main sponsors that without Tunku Ismail’s leadership they (investors) will not invest in football.
“So for me, I have no one else to convince the investors except Tunku Ismail … if the state and clubs want to get bigger allocations, which prior to this had never been given to them, they need to convince TMJ to continue to be with national football,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters after opening the Pahang State Level Fit Malaysia Programme at Dataran Tras, Bentong, here, which was also attended by Bentong Member of Parliament, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
More than 7,000 people attended the Fit Malaysia programme, which is the third held this year, after Teluk Kemang, Port Dickson on Feb 11 and Muar, Johor on March 10.
Commenting further on TMJ’s resignation caused by the drop in the world ranking of the Harimau Malaya squad, Khairy said it was (drop in ranking) normal in sports.
“For me, a hike or drop in ranking is normal but we need a long-term plan that is not affected by the short term view which focuses solely on rankings.
“I myself have seen failures in some sports meets such as the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games but Malaysia then bounced back in the Sea Games and the Olympic Games,” he said.
Tunku Ismail expressed his desire to resign following the fall of the Harimau Malaya’s ranking to 178th in the world.
Following the latest ranking by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), the Harimau Malaya’s ranking dropped three rungs from 175th position, which it had occupied for the past two months. – BERNAMA