DESPITE the Asian Games squad’s miserable outing in Incheon, the FA of Malaysia (FAM) does not want to admit the team failed.
Many had expected Ong Kim Swee’s side to better the last 16 achievement of Guangzhou four years ago as 90 per cent of the players were either former or current members of Young Tigers A, who all had exposure outside the country for the last few years.
FAM general-secretary Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said critics must accept that the team did not make the second round at the Asian Games.
“We were not good enough against South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Generally, I don’t think we can match Asia’s top teams yet. Of course Thailand and Indonesia made the last 16 and we did not do it,” said Hamidin yesterday.
“Some groups were easy but unfortunately we were pooled in a tough group.
“Some of the referee’s decisions did not go our way in the 3-0 defeat to Saudi Arabia (on Sunday) but we should accept that we lost.
“We will wait for the report from the coach before evaluating the factors that led to the team’s failure. Yes, we must do more to match bigger teams.”
Hamidin stressed the Tigers’ stint in Australia’s Queensland League this year was beneficial as eight members played in the Asian Games.
“Tigers A are not the national Under-23 squad… Critics must understand that the stint in Australia is for development.”
Hamidin said players from FAM’s development squads of Tigers A, B, C and D have been instrumental in the progress of Malaysian football.
“Three-quarter members of our successful 2009 and 2011 Sea Games and the 2010 AFF Cup squads were from Tigers.
“The programme was initiated in 2007 to develop a bigger pool of quality players for international football,” he said.
Hamidin, however, was tongue-tied when asked whether state FAs were doing enough to develop youth players.
“FAM’s incentive to develop quality youth players corresponds with incentives by other relevant parties. I do not want to question whether others are doing enough… let’s wait for the Asian Games report first before making assumptions,” Hamidin added.