National coach B. Sathianathan and assistant team manager Datuk Soh Chin Aun have been told to pack their bags by the FA of Malaysia. The FAM exco which met this morning decided to hand over the reins to FAM vice-president Datuk Gulzar Mohd Noor who had bankrolled both the Sarawak and Police teams in the past.
What I'm not clear with is, why was Chin Aun given the sack? I thought the team manager was YB Khairy Jamaluddin?!
As for Sathianathan, I had earlier written that he should have been given the boot after the AFF Suzuki Cup failure. The KPI for Sathianathan and YB Khairy was for the team to reach the semifinals. This was not met.
But Chin Aun who played in the 1972 Munich Olympics, was the one who boarded the Charlie to Phuket. The Towkay was also left to defend Sathianathan in the meeting shortly after the debacle! And come to think of it, Chin Aun is one of many ex-internationals scheduled to meet Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at Bukit Jalil on Monday!
When I asked Chin Aun recently on his exact role, "Haiya, saya assistant team manager lah!"
Apparently YB Khairy was relieved of his managerial duties last year and Chin Aun named as his replacement but there was no official announcement from FAM.
Oh another thing, what can Gulzar do?
Sathianathan's replacement will be named later. The vacancy of what is arguably the hottest seat in Malaysian sports will be advertised but in all likelihood one man will be put in charge of both the national team and the SEA Games squad. So it could pave the way for K. Rajagopal to assume the seat he once occupied, albeit briefly in 2004 shortly after Karl Weigang was appointed as the technical director.
I believe Sathianathan was axed not so much for the 5-0 defeat to UAE but due to his "M-League is not football" outburst during the post-match conference.
My friends in the mainstream Press here and here will be disappointed with FAM's latest decision, no doubt!