I almost choked on my corn flakes last week as I enjoyed my breakfast while reading the newspaper. Here in black & white was Harimau Muda B coach Razip Ismail telling the media: “I am prepared to take over Harimau Muda A for the SEA Games in May if FAM wants me to.“
Excuse me Mr Razip, but just a friendly reminder that Harimau Muda A already have a coach in the form of Datuk Ong Kim Swee. You remember him don’t you Mr Razip? He’s the coach that led Malaysia to the SEA Games Gold Medal in 2011 and Merdeka Cup title in 2013.
Now before I go any further, let me publicly state that Harimau Muda A coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is a former team-mate and a friend of mine. However, this article has nothing to do with our relationship.
Obviously Razip was in a very confident mood, having just led Harimau Muda B to the Bangabandhu Cup title, which happens to be his FIRST ever coaching success. Yes, it was a fantastic achievement by both the players & the coaching staff. It was also a great preparation for the upcoming AFC U22 qualifiers, which will see Malaysia go against Vietnam, Japan and Macau.
But it’s worth noting that 70% of Razip’s U-22 team played in last year’s Queensland NPL under Kim Swee and 9 players from their NPL starting 11 were in the first eleven of the team in Bangladesh. Based on these stats, Razip should be grateful to his fellow FAM coaches for helping him with the development of quality players for his U-22 team.
However, to openly advertise yourself for the Harimau Muda A post when a coach is already preparing for the SEA Games is outrageous and shows a complete lack of respect for your fellow peer.
There is an unwritten law within professional football that coaches don’t advertise themselves for a job of another coach . It woud be a complete different story if a club or association, with plans of changing their team leadership, contacts a coach and requests for their services. But to be the instigator and contact a club/association, be it secretly behind the scenes or openly in the media, goes against the old age adage of respecting your fellow coaches.
As a developing footballing nation, Malaysia’s coaching fraternity needs to be a tightly knitted unit. They need to stick together and share coaching information so that the coaching standards within the nation constantly improves. Obviously when two coaches meet each other, it’s 90 minutes of war, where result is all that matters. But right after the game, a hand shake of mutual respect is generally accepted as standard practice. In England, it’s not unusual for coaches to share a glass of wine or a cup of tea after the game, where they simply converse about football.
Malaysia is blessed with some fantastic local coaches who have worked hard to complete the license, study the game and improve their knowledge; be it tactically, technically, sports science, video analysis, diet, psychology and even media training. The last thing Malaysia’s coaching fraternity needs is disrespect and individuals targeting other coach’s jobs when they are still under contract. Pursuing a professional coaching career is hard enough without having your fellow peers sticking the knife in.
Razip Ismail has not exactly set the world on fire with his coaching career thus far. Admittedly with limited resources, he struggled with Kuala Lumpur FA between 2008-2012, getting relegated in the process. He then took over Harimau Muda B, where he led the team to 2nd bottom and bottom spot in the 2013 and 2014 S.League respectively. In 2014, they only won six games, drawing 2 and losing a whopping amount of 19 matches. But more importantly, how many players has Razip developed with Harimau Muda B in the S.League over the last two years?
This is merely a suggestion but maybe Razip Ismail should concentrate on improving himself as a coach and on the vitally important AFC U-22 qualifiers, rather than chasing other people’s job. If Razip’s team qualifies for the AFC U-22 Cup, I will be the first person to shake his hand and congratulate him.
But in the meantime, does anyone have his address? I need to send him the ‘THOU SHALL RESPECT MY FELLOW COACHES’ manual.
TOPSY-TURVY SUPER LEAGUE
Expect a topsy-turvy Super League with many upsets, especially in the first few match days.
One reason for this is the stop-start nature of the league schedule which will see plenty of breaks during the season, some even two to four weeks, before it ultimately ends in August.
A professional football player enjoys routine, for it allows you to work your way into form. But playing three games in two weeks and then not playing for three weeks makes it very difficult to gain momentum and string results together.
I predict that teams heading into a break with momentum, will suddenly struggle when the league resumes. This also leads to a congested league table.
However, the cream will always rise to the top and I still predict Johor DT to retain their Super league title. As for relegation, Sime Darby are my favourites to head into the Premier League.
Other posts by Scott Ollerenshaw