Analysis

The Tigers and its fractious relationship with the media

Malaysia national football team has been drawing flak for their performances of late but are they really warranted? Coaches and media personnel gave their two cents’ worth on the issue... 

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There are few national teams that gets as much media stick when things go wrong as England and we all know how the Three Lions have been performing of late.

Each failure in an international tournament brings fresh criticism.  Some is warranted but some is not.

If Raheem Sterling does play for England again (and the Manchester City man could be forgiven for preferring to do anything but) the fear of more personal attacks may not be far from his mind. And that can't be good for anyone.

Earlier this week, Malaysia international Brendan Gan told FourFourTwo that England is not the only country with a media that can go too far.

The midfielder was opening up about the recent Oceania tour. The Tigers’ opening game loss to Papau New Guinea did  not go down well with journalists or fans.

“To call us clowns, terrible ambassadors for the country and an embarrassment to Malaysia really hurts,” Gan said. “Obviously everyone could have their own opinion but I think the way forward is to trial players, combinations and build a team over the next few months...”

He went on to say that he may be reluctant to talk to certain sections of the press in the future. A war between the press and the national team is like most of Kedah's 2016 Malaysia League season so far – usually neither side wins.

There can be a risk of going down the England route where sections of the media become so vicious in their blasts, causing the players to become so scared of failure that they perform even worse causing even wilder criticisms that make players even more terrified. This vicious cycle can continue for decades.

Dollah Salleh has experienced criticism and then some. The former playing legend took over as head coach of Malaysia in 2014 but 6-0 defeats at the hands of Oman and then Palestine put him on the rack.

He then resigned after a 10-0 loss in the United Arab Emirates last September.

Dollah faced his fair share of criticism while being Malaysia coach. Photo: FAM

“There are too many reports that spoil our national team,” he told FourFourTwo.

“We are not Spain, we are considered a small team, we need to focus on development to improve. A lot of friendly matches and everyone is talking about ranking but to me, ranking is nothing. We want to play better teams like Korea and England in order to improve. The most important thing is who you play and how you play and develop.

“Within one month, my players had eight leagues games with JDT and Pahang also playing a game in the AFC Cup. They reported to me just two days before the game and they are exhausted. The media doesn't talk about this.”