KUALA LUMPUR: One of Asia’s newest delegates to FIFA is to quit as head of his own football association after a humiliating defeat in World Cup qualifying.
Malaysia’s Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah joined the world federation’s executive committee only in May and that status remains technically unaffected by his decision after the national team’s 10-0 thrashing by United Arab Emirates on September 3.
Malaysia’s heaviest-ever defeat came in their third group A match in a qualifying competition which counts for both the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup. Coach Dollah Salleh has already resigned and been replaced on a caretaker basis by ex-international Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
Tengku Abdullah, who took over the FAM presidency only last year, has recommended that deputy president Datuk Seri Afandi Hamzah take over on an interim basis.
He considered it impossible to disguise his disappointment and anger at the UAE beating which tarnished the image of the nation’s football.
Tengku Abdullah said: “This is a very embarrasing and shameful loss, I cannot accept it. We have accepted Dollah Salleh’s resignation and I do not want it prolonged.
“I hope they can rise again and only the players and the coach can answer, regarding their performance in the match.
“I no longer wish to play a role in observing and making plans for 2023, so don’t waste time, let’s move on.
“FAM must rebuild Harimau Malaya soonest, including the possibility of changing its players and coaches, for the sake of Malaysian football.”
Tengku Abdullah succeeded his father, Sultan Ahmad Shah, as president of the FAM in May last year. The 84-year-old Sultan had been FAM president since 1984.
The presidency was contested for first time in all those years, between Tengku Abdullah and another member of royalty, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince of Johor and head of the regional FA.
Tengku Abdullah, crown prince of Pahang, won by a simple majority in the second round of voting after failing to obtain the two-thirds majority which would have ensured a first round win.
Several senior officials had expressed a hope that Tengku Abdullah will reconsider his decision to step down.
Tengku Abdullah’s campaign pledges for the Asian slot on the FIFA exco included the pursuit of more places for Asia at the World Cup.