I have a job to do and Malaysia comes first – OKS responds to TMJ criticism
Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee was forced to defend himself after an attack by Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, who is refusing to allow the club’s players from joining the Tigers training camp longer than the duration stipulated in FIFA regulations.
On Friday, Tunku Ismail insisted the JDT and JDT II players will only report for national duty four days prior to an international match as it was the common practice in many developed football countries.
JDT II ordered Darren Lok, Irfan Fazail and Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak back from the national team on Monday, after a day of training. Tigers skipper Amri Yahyah, Fadhli Shas and Azrif Nasrulhaq of JDT were expected to report on Sunday but will join the JDT II trio in national camp on Monday.
Malaysia play Singapore at Sports Hub on Friday before hosting Afghanistan on October 11.
“My duty is to prepare the Malaysian squad and that is where my focus should be. Let me do my job and judgement can come after the AFF Suzuki Cup. I believe FAM continues to have faith in me and I intend to prove my worth,” said Ong.
“The personal attacks will not stop no matter what I do or say and it started from the very first day I assumed the job. I work with sincerity and will carry out my responsibilities to the nation.
“I think the fans, those that know football, realise what the actual situation is. The players are aware too ... when they take the field they do not play for themselves or me, they play for the country. I believe in my players and I see desire to do well in their eyes.
“Years ago ahead of the 2011 SEA Games final against Indonesia, I told my players that your opponents don’t respect you, they don’t respect our flag and they don’t respect our King, and today I am facing the same situation again at home.”
Tunku Ismail accused the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) of favouritism and malpractice when they appointed Ong in January. Ong previous served FAM as Harimau Muda and Malaysia under-23 coach.
“Even if the players trained for four months in the national team, they will still continue to play with that same style. If there is a foreign coach with records of success, I will allow my players to train with him because I know my players would learn under him,” said Tunku Ismail.
JDT also recalled Dominic Tan from Frank Bernhardt’s under-22 squad days before a second friendly against their Bahrain counterparts last month.