DARUL Ta’zim fans are clamouring for Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to leave the FA of Malaysia (FAM) if his work for football in the country is not appreciated.
Criticism of the FAM president on social media mounted after the national team conceded two goals in the last 10 minutes to lose 2-1 to Lebanon in an Asian Cup qualifier in Johor Baru on Tuesday.
Most questioned Tunku Ismail’s choice of Portuguese Nelo Vingada as the national coach while others criticised the decision to recall Safiq Rahim and Amirulhadi Zainal after they turned their backs on the national team last year.
In light of the development, Tunku Ismail has been urged to return to Johor and take over the running of the Darul Ta’zim football club he owns.
“It can be said that the majority of Malaysian football fans belittle and look down on Tunku Ismail’s ability as FAM president. Only Johor fans support Tunku Ismail so it is best that he returns and strengthens Darul Ta’zim,” said Facebook user Mohd Ab Rahman.
“Let FAM return to what it once was if that is what the majority of Malaysians want.”
However, there were also those asking Tunku Ismail, who was elected FAM president unopposed on March 25, to persevere and stay the course.
“I think it’s too early to quit. You have the vision and mission with Darul Ta’zim and carried then to a different level,” Robert Gabriel posted on the Johor Southern Tigers’ Facebook page.
“Hope you can do (the) same to Malaysian football even though there will be detractors in numbers to undermine all your efforts. I believe it will take a bit more time to achieve what you had envisioned.”
The comments came in response to Darul Ta’zim president Tunku Aminah Sultan Ibrahim’s plea to her brother to return to managing the three-time Super League champions if he is no longer wanted by Malaysians.
“I hope the Crown Prince of Johor does not stay too long as FAM president. It’s better to serve and contribute where you are appreciated and loved,” said Tunku Aminah.
“It’s better for you to come home rather than stay where you are not appreciated.”
FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin urged Malaysians to give Tunku Ismail and Vingada time to effect changes.
“It is not fair to judge Tunku Ismail after 12 weeks and Vingada after three weeks and based only after one defeat for the national team,” said Hamidin.
“Tunku Ismail has done a lot since becoming president including restructuring the FAM organisational system to be more effective, bringing in an experienced and high profile national coach, initiating dialogue with fans, strengthening the relationship with state FAs and providing modern facilities for the national team.
“Give Tunku Ismail and Vingada time to strengthen the national team and I am sure we will reap the benefits in a year or two.”