Malaysian talking points: Female leadership, ASEAN imports and stars to farewell Kedah

Malaysia Cup action dominated the headlines, but the Kelantan Football Association (KAFA) also drew attention on Sunday after appointing Bibi Ramjani Ilias Khan as president. Elsewhere, Ken Ilso and Zachary Anderson announced they were leaving Malaysia Super League (MSL) side Kedah.

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Bibi Ramjani (pictured above) became the first female football association president after defeating Datuk Nasir Hamzah for the Kelantan FA top post on Sunday.

Bibi Ramjani, virtually unknown in the football scene, is the managing director of a Kota Bahru-based textile company. Her victory could be a sign of things to come in Malaysia, where corporate figures have previously been urged to get involved with the sport.

Kelantan will be hoping for better times under new management

Bibi Ramjani joins a small group of female office bearers in the sport. Siti Zubaidah Abdul Jabar and Tunku Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah are club presidents at PKNS and Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) respectively.

Kelantan players and fans are hopeful Bibi Ramjani’s arrival signals an end to the financial woes that have hit the Red Warriors hard in recent years. Before being voted in, she told press that salary issues would be a thing of the past.


In an exclusive interview with FourFourTwo, Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim revealed that Malaysian football was considering following the footsteps of Thailand in introducing an import quota for Southeast Asian players.

READ ALSO: Why Malaysia are considering a fifth import in the domestic league

The MSL and Malaysia Premier League (MPL) currently allow four imports – including one Asian player. Should the move take off, teams will be allowed to sign a fifth import provided they are from ASEAN.

Many have pointed out the woes of the national team – up front and in central defence – are partly because of the reintroduction of foreign players in the leagues in 2011.

Many teams are over-reliant on imports to lead the front.

Yet Tunku Ismail insisted Malaysian clubs should mature into producing quality local players who must be willing to work harder for starting places.


In what came as a surprise, Kedah’s imports Ilso of Denmark and Australian Anderson both took to social media to announce their impending departures at the end of the season.

Ilso had just bagged a brace against Selangor in the Malaysia Cup quarter-final as Kedah won the first leg 3-2, but that didn’t stop him nor Anderson from making the departures public.

Both players have insisted they are committed to seeing out the remainder of their contracts.

Ilso's (centre) announcement came as a surprise

They did not provide any reason for the decisions and claimed to be unsure of their next destination.

Ilso has scored 24 goals in 28 games for Kedah to top the club’s goalscoring charts while Anderson has struck a good partnership with Khairul Helmi Johari in the heart of defence.

Kedah have won the Sultan Ahmad Shah Cup and FA Cup this season. They are in pole position to finish runners-up to JDT in the MSL and are seeking to retain the Malaysia Cup.