FFT's Five Finds: Malaysia in desperate bid to improve rankings

Tampines and Albirex are still on course for the 'Double' as they made their way into the Singapore Cup semi-finals. Elsewhere, Malaysia have asked Fifa to recognise their recent friendly matches in order to climb the world rankings...

Malaysia desperate to improve global standing

This may not be a new thing exactly but Malaysia's lowly FIFA ranking, currently 173, is a source of national consternation. While you could argue that if you want points to climb up the table then a tour of Oceania is not going to be the most fruitful but you take anything you can get.

So it must be frustrating that the only game on the trip then ended in victory, a come-from-behind 2-1 win over New Caledonia, was not a recognised FIFA friendly. The reason is that the hosts failed to appoint match officials that had been approved by the governing body.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin told reporters that an appeal has been lodged with FIFA as Malaysia are being punished for someone else's mistake.

“It’s a big loss because the match (against New Caledonia) could have won us points and improve our ranking,” he said in a statement on Friday.

Given that New Caledonia are ranked in 183, ten below the Tigers, there won't be too many points on offer but Malaysia need all they can get at the moment.

Singapore double is on for in-form duo

Tampines and Albirex are in the mix for the Double. Photo: S.League

The S.League title is going to one of two teams: Tampines Rovers or Albirex Niigata (S). With a gap of 12 points between second and third, nobody else is in the running.

As well as fighting it out in the league, there is a very real chance that they could meet in the final of the Singapore Cup as both made it to the semi-finals, avoiding each other.

Albirex drew 2-2 at Geylang International in the second leg but a 2-0 win at home was enough for the league leaders, four points clear at the top, to move into the last four.

Tampines have not looked back since coach V.Sundramoorthy left to take the national team job.

In six games since, Akbar Nawas has not tasted anything other than victory, his last being a 2-1 win over Global FC of the Philippines.

Next up is another Philippines opposition in the shape of Ceres La Salle. Ceres finished top of their AFC Cup group earlier this year but should the Rovers get some revenge, a final showdown with Albirex may await.

Match-fixing worries resurface

Ayeyawady is embroiled in rigging controversy. Photo: Ayeyawady

After recent stories coming out of Cambodia, it was worrying to hear reports from Myanmar. Ayeyawady United are not only one of the leading clubs in the country but also competed in the AFC Cup this year and there are suggestions that one of those games was fixed.

That such matches came against Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) of Malaysia, Lao Toyota of Laos and India's Bengaluru made this even more of an international issue.

The Delta Boys defeated their Laos opponents but lost very heavily to JDT in Malaysia and also lost 5-3 at Bengaluru.

Investigations have started. The club needs to help as much as possible, however painful it may be.

And then there are the referees in Thailand who have been arrested for receiving bribes. It all shows that fighting match-fixing and corruption is never-ending and all should be vigilant.