'FAM shouldn't set targets for its national team'

KUALA LUMPUR: The FA of Malaysia (FAM) tends to say its national team want to qualify for this or that competition.

But former FAM technical director, Peter de Roo said this approach to the Asian Cup or World Cup qualifiers do not benefit Harimau Malaya.

In fact, it could be counter-productive.

Dutchman De Roo feels that the national team have been somewhat lucky in winning some of their international matches.

De Roo, 54, was instrumental in FAM's ambitious F:30 Roadmap in 2018, which outlined the organisation's objectives and expectations over a 30-year period.

De Roo, who is currently with Singapore's Balestier Khalsa, however, acknowledged FAM's ambitions, particularly with the increased World Cup slots for Asia.

But he warned that setting targets like qualifying for the Asian Cup and World Cup would lead to consequences if these targets are not met.

"I understand the ambition fuelled by the expanded World Cup opportunities. However, failure to meet the set targets poses risk," said de Roo.

Following the expansion of the 2026 World Cup to 48 teams from 32, Asia's five spots have increased to eight plus a single intercontinental playoffs slot.

De Roo emphasised the importance of focusing on "controllable factors" such as enhancing playing style and techniques to compete effectively against Asia's top teams.

"I firmly believe Malaysia has the potential for success, provided they concentrate on the fundamentals (like teamwork) rather than getting sidetracked by targets," said de Roo.

Though FAM failed to meet its target of qualifying for the second round at the Asian Cup in Doha in January, de Roo said it doesn't necessarily mean overall failure.

He expressed confidence in South Korean Kim Pan Gon helming the national team despite their inconsistency.

De Roo also said there is an abundance of talent in the Malaysian team.

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