Kentucky Fried Culture? Cornthwaite's revelation indicative of Malaysian football's issues

Former Selangor defender Robbie Cornthwaite's revelations this week about events that took place while he was playing in Malaysia shine a light on some of the issues facing the country's football scene...

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When Arsene Wenger joined Arsenal, he helped take English football players out of the dark ages and into the 21st century in terms of diet, lifestyle and a determination to play as well as you can for as long as you can.

When the Frenchman gets bored of the Gunners, or vice versa, he is needed in Malaysia.

If you are late to training, the punishment was to buy KFC for the whole team. Not what you would expect from a professional football team

- Cornthwaite's widely reported comment

Robbie Cornthwaite's article for the A-League website this week on how to survive in Asian football was a great read, if a slightly depressing one for Malaysian fans.

“There is a real lack of professionalism," wrote the former Selangor star. “If you are late to training, the punishment was to buy KFC for the whole team.

“Not what you would expect from a professional football team.”

But sadly, it is what you expect from some Malaysian teams.

'KFC-gate' (or 'KFC-ate'?) was funny for a second, in a shake-the-head kind of way, before the realisation of what it all meant sank in.

One of the biggest, and some would say the biggest, clubs in Malaysia was allowing its professional players to eat fast food – yes, food that comes in buckets – during club time.

The former Socceroo has returned to the A-League

And as players can be late for numerous reasons, you have to wonder how often this happened.

Given how disappointing the Red Giants were last season, fans could have been forgiven for asking if this was not the pre-match meal on a number of occasions.

But this is symptomatic of a lack of professionalism that runs through the game at too many levels in Malaysia. This is a mindset as much as a method of operation.

Many clubs are reliant on the money they receive from state federations. These subsidies help teams that can't stand on their own two feet survive.

It also results in politicians and bureaucrats exercising the kind of power and influence that control of the purse strings gives. But having amateurs running clubs does not mean amateurism is acceptable across the board.

There are things that can't be controlled, but there are plenty of things that can.

For example, the fact squads weren’t publicly confirmed until shortly before the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season kicked-off.

Trying to find information about squads, fixtures and tickets more than a few days ahead of the new campaign was harder than getting a hotel room in Batu Ferringhi during Chinese New Year.

It is the same with the clubs. Some may be facing serious financial issues, but there is no reason why all can't have at least a basic recognition ahead of time that there is a new season, new players to introduce to the public, new fixtures to tell people about and new tickets to sell.

[NEXT PAGE: Many basic requirements still aren't being met]