Sack OKS and do it now, not March

It is no secret that Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee is expected to be replaced as early as March 2017, but Vijhay Vick believes a decision should be made now and it is pointless keeping Ong in the job. 

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) will have a new leadership in place after the Congress in March and a new Tigers coach is also expected.

After all, Malaysia failed to qualify to the latter stages of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time since 2008, though many weren’t really surprised by the outcome.

Defeats to Vietnam and co-host Myanmar only reinforced the fact that Malaysia simply did not deserve to progress. Instead Vietnam and Myanmar from Group B will meet Group A's Indonesia and Thailand respectively for a coveted place in the final.

Defeats to Vietnam and co-host Myanmar only reinforced the fact that Malaysia simply did not deserve to progress.

Ong admitted he had failed and there was a need to go back to the drawing board, something Malaysia desperately need if they were to rise again. It is troubling that that even lowly Cambodia gave Malaysia a run for their money in Yangon.

Apart from convincing displays against Timor Leste in the Asian Cup qualifying playoff in June, Malaysia never really got going under Ong's watch, for all sorts of reasons nevertheless.

In July, the Tigers were shocked with the international retirements of Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, S. Kunanlan and Amirul Hadi Zainal, three of whom have been national team stalwarts since 2010. Their club Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT), through its owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, said the quartet were fed up with the state of football in the country.

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None of JDT's starting 11 locals made it to Ong's squad

Tunku Ismail, who has openly slammed Ong several times, also claimed the players were not gaining anything by being with the national team. In late September, JDT refused to release their players until four days prior to the friendly against Singapore despite all of their players already being on holiday.

Tunku Ismail has repeatedly said he will release players early and even 'coax' the retired players to return to the national team if Ong was no longer coach.

There were surprising omissions when the Tigers' Suzuki Cup squad was announced, most glaringly the absence of JDT's Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Fazly Mazlan and Azrif Nasrulhaq, three players Ong had repeatedly praised and labelled as the future of Malaysia. Ong refused to comment why they were left out.

There were surprising omissions when the Tigers' Suzuki Cup squad was announced

The fact that none of the locals from JDT's starting eleven — who were deserved winners of the 2016 Malaysia Super League (MSL) — featured for Ong just doesn't sit right.

Ong vehemently insisted he had called up the "best available players" and perhaps did everything he could to prepare and improve the team, something evident in how Malaysia looked more formidable in Yangon than in the build-up to the competition.

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Ong's Malaysia failed to get the win required against Myanmar

The Tigers were the most technologically advanced team in Myanmar with the use of drones and GPS units on every player. The team also stayed at the Parami Hotel because it offered Halal food, something that made dietary arrangements a lot easier.

Yet it was simply not enough.

So what does Malaysia do next? The Asian Cup qualifiers start on March 28, just days after the eagerly awaited elections.

Tunku Ismail has already claimed to know who the next Malaysia coach will be come March and insisted it will be a foreigner.

FAM should sack Ong now and get whoever that candidate may be, as the new coach could then scout the MSL for players from January and get the team going before the qualifiers.

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Ong had to rely on veterans such as Ronny Harun

It'll make little sense for Ong to take charge until March, presumably fail again and be sacked before the following international break in June.

Looking at how Malaysia were at the Suzuki Cup, FAM needs to appoint a man that has the blessing of Tunku Ismail, as cooperation with the biggest club in the country is vital for the Tigers to move forward.

Otherwise it will only be a losing battle and plenty of disappointment for the country's loyal football fans.

So FAM, sack Ong now!

Photos: Myanmar Football Federation