Can Hamidin continue to drive FAM’s progress?

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KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of the recent circulation of a poison-pen letter has evidently posed a challenge to the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) as demands arise for its president, Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin (pix), to step down after six years at the helm of the national football governing body.

These demands come amidst claims that Hamidin’s performance as president has been less than satisfactory, linking current the football landscape and the Harimau Malaya’s ranking to the leadership style of the 58-year-old Hamidin.

However, the question remains whether Hamidin has indeed failed to propel FAM to greater heights since assuming the presidency in 2018, and whether all the issues occurring domestically and concerning the national team’s ranking should be solely attributed to him.

Based on records, there have been significant changes initiated by Hamidin, including the launch of the FAM F:30 Roadmap, a 12-year long-term plan aimed at making Malaysia one of the top five nations in Asia by 2030.

Additionally, FAM has introduced the Affiliate Capacity Enhancement (ACE) Project, launched the Malaysian Football DNA, the Suparimau grassroots charter, and various other initiatives to drive FAM and its affiliates forward.

Under his tenure, FAM is also undertaking major projects to further enhance Malaysian football, namely the construction of the National Training Centre and the new FAM Headquarters respectively in Putrajaya.

During his six years of leading FAM, the world ranking of Harimau Malaya has risen from 171st to 130th last year, marking Malaysia’s best position in 17 years since occupying 127th place in May 2006.

The current world ranking of Malaysia is 138th after losing twice to Oman in the second round group stage of the 2026 World Cup/2027 Asian Cup qualifiers last month.

In an effort to strengthen Harimau Malaya, Hamidin took the initiative to appoint foreign coaches with impressive backgrounds, namely Kim Pan Gon from South Korea and Juan Torres Garrido from Spain, for the senior squad and the national Under-23 (U-23) men’s team respectively.

As a result, Malaysia qualified on merit for the Asian Cup after 42 years and managed to draw against Asian football giants, South Korea, 3-3 in the group stage match of the prestigious Asian tournament in Doha, Qatar, earlier this year, but ultimately failed to progress beyond the group stage.

The national U-23 squad also successfully qualified for the U-23 Asian Cup for two consecutive editions since 2022 after making their debut in the 2018 edition.

Other national teams have also been given attention, with Jordanian women’s coach Soleen Al-Zoubi appointed to lead the national women’s squad, and the national futsal squad receiving guidance from Thai coach Rakphol Sainetngam.

Furthermore, Hamidin has played a role in placing Malaysia on the international football stage by winning a seat in the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) Council Member elections for the 2023-2027 term.

He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and was appointed as the chairman of the AFC Finance Committee.

According to local sports observer, Datuk Dr Pekan Ramli, it is unfair to pressure Hamidin to resign solely because of the circulation of a posion-pen letter raising issues about the leadership and management of FAM.

“The issue of the anonymous letter has not been proven, it is still under investigation and there are no accusations that require him (Hamidin) to go to court. So, if the demand for him to resign is because of the letter, I feel it is unfair to him,“ he told Bernama.

He said only FAM affiliates have the right to request the president to resign or go on leave throughout the investigation process through an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

“At the EGM, they (FAM affiliates) can also appoint someone they feel is capable of assuming the role of president,“ he said.

Meanwhile, Football Coaches Association of Malaysia (PJBM) president, Datuk Ong Kim Swee believes FAM still needs Hamidin as president based on his work performance and capabilities.

“What will happen if he resigns as president of FAM now? It will certainly be a great loss because he is a FIFA Council Member until 2027. What is the use if we have him still as a FIFA Council Member but FAM is led by someone else who has no influence at FIFA or AFC level?” he said.

The former head coach of Harimau Malaya also disagreed that the issue of player salary arrears for Malaysian League teams should be entirely placed on Hamidin’s shoulders as FAM is no longer the body responsible for league competitions, besides clubs have undergone privatisation processes.

What has happened recently has evidently impacted FAM and is considered a wake-up call for Hamidin’s leadership to strengthen FAM’s administration for the future.

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