5 things Hamidin promised to execute as new FAM president

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Amin had presented his manifesto at his official unveiling on Saturday, and Nicolas Anil takes a look at some of his promises to change the fortunes of Malaysian football.

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The former bank employee has been hailed as the ideal individual to try and lift the beleaguered national body out of the doldrums due to his vast experience in Malaysian football for almost 23-years.

Improving the fortunes of the national team

Hamidin is already plotting a comprehensive plan for the national team until 2030. “To remain in the comfort zone is no longer an option,” he said. That statement couldn’t’ be further from the truth. After winning the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2010, Malaysia have regressed instead of progressing. To start rebuilding, Hamidin must structure a clear blueprint for the national team, which also includes technical director Peter De Roo. Malaysia are not a lost cause. The Under-19 team have shown their potential by winning the AFF U19 Championship with Bojan Hodak. The U23 boys, under Datuk Ong Kim Swee, outdid themselves by making the last eight of the AFF U23 Championship this year. It is a matter of translating that success to the senior team. We have a talented and dedicated head coach in Tan Cheng Hoe. If he is given the right support, Malaysia can change their fortunes.

To place big emphasis on grassroots development

Malaysia already has a national grassroots initiative called the National Football Development Programme (NFDP). The problem is, that programme falls under the purview of the Sports Ministry and there was no clear plans to collaborate with FAM and produce a comprehensive blueprint for our young generation. Hamidin has promised to work with new Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman to outline a new plan for the NFDP. There is only one solution to this, the NFDP must come under the care of FAM. There cannot be two separate grassroots entities with different structures for youth development. The NFDP has fantastic facilities at its centre of excellence in Gambang, Pahang. It also has sufficient personnel. FAM must now plan, and maximize the initiative that NFDP has already built while utilizing their in-house expertise. For this, Hamidin will need to work closely with NFDP project director Lim Teong Kim, De Roo and any other talent he plans to recruit.

To look into the competing clubs welfare

This year, Kuantan FA were disbanded from competing in the Malaysia Premier League after failing to settle their players’ salaries amounting to 11-months. In the Malaysia Super League, Kelantan faced the same issue of owing their former and current players, some of whom wanted to escalate their plight to FIFA. Season in, season out, this issue plagues the domestic league. Hamidin has promised to impose stricter regulations for competing clubs. Which means FAM must inspect every club’s audit and finances before allowing them to compete. Every club who wishes to participate in the Malaysian league must prove they are strong financially not only for one season, but be equipped for at least five years. League administrators Malaysia Football League (MFL) must also play a crucial role in assisting FAM with this. If players can’t feed their families, they surely can’t entertain football fans.

Hamidin will not be a puppet master

Many, including Malaysian football practitioners, are of the impression Hamidin will be a puppet master as president. They feel that Hamidin is just there to follow the instructions of Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim (TMJ), who made way to become the MFL chairman. But they are wrong. Hamidin was nominated by TMJ himself when the Johor Crown Prince wanted to vacate the role, so TMJ clearly holds the new president in high stature. Secondly, Hamidin has seen the good and bad of Malaysian football, having been in the national body since 2007. He knows the pitfalls to expect, and the possible solutions to counter the problem. Thirdly, he is more than capable of making his own decisions which should be respected by all parties. But to achieve his goal of improving Malaysian football, Hamidin needs the full support of his executive committee members, the affiliates, the press and the fans. He needs the right people to believe in his vision, not doubt him. And to do that, they must first look at him as a leader, not a yes man.

Improving the quality of referees

The quality of referees in Malaysia has constantly been criticized due to their many questionable decisions. The poor standards of officials is also a reflection on FAM, who are seen as not trying to fix the problem. Hamidin has promised to initiate a professional development programme for referees as one of his main tasks. He will start by recruiting eight officials and introduce a comprehensive syllabus that will serve as a referee’s bible after that. This is one aspect that needs to be rectified fast. Malaysia have had good officials like Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh who have officiated at the World Cup, but they have been few and far between. Good referees go a long way to determining the quality of a league. If Hamidin can find a right formula to bring out the best in officials, he would go a long way to justifying himself as a president.