What Ails Malaysian football?: ‘Big salaries a good thing’

ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL and AJITPAL SINGH


THE Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) believes that the skyrocketing salary scale of players and coaches in the MLeague is good for football in the long run, despite the national team’s dismal world ranking.

However, FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin admitted that some players in the league were being paid too much as they were only average players.

“It is very difficult to answer this question. We cannot stop clubs from offering high salaries to players. They can afford it, so we must respect that.

“But not all players in the league deserve huge salaries. Some do not even play regularly. “However, a majority of players with huge salaries have justified it on the pitch,” Hamidin told the New Straits Times yesterday.

NST in a special report yesterday had highlighted the high salaries of Malaysian footballers, which continued to grow despite the national team’s dismal Fifa international ranking and performances.

It was reported that some local players earn RM80,000 a month with their respective clubs.

The national team, headed by Dollah Salleh, is now ranked 164th, one rung below Bhutan, which earned points after the two-leg win over Sri Lanka in a recent World Cup qualifying first-round tie.

Asked whether some players prefer club football over international games, Hamidin disagreed, stating that those with caps earned higher salaries in the league.

“We must understand that our ranking has dropped because we played only one international game (lost 6-0 to Oman) compared to some teams.

“International football is different. Some locals earning fat salaries are not national team material compared to others.

“We cannot claim that some players do not give 100 per cent for the national team. If you look at it from a different angle, players with caps earn more. It is an incentive being a national player.

“We have to consider other factors when we touch on the performance of Dollah’s side.

“The team was also lacking in training time, so we are now trying to accommodate the coach’s request for a longer practice schedule ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers.

“And I also think Malaysia can beat teams like Bhutan anytime. Many say we need to play higher ranking teams to improve so we are doing just that,” Hamidin added.

Additional reporting by DEVINDER SINGH AND ZAINUDDIN MUHAMMAD