Thursday, April 07, 2016


Penang Rest Coach Jacksen After Sarawak Loss

The Malaysia Super League kicked off two months ago but that already seems a lifetime. The pre season optimism of many fans and clubs have been replaced by the reality of results and already, with just six rounds of fixtures played, coaches have paid the ultimate price.

Penang are the latest to do something about their perceived poor situation. Back in the top flight after a six year absence, Jacksen F Tiago, the Brazilian coach who achieved so much success in Indonesia with Persebaya and Persipura, guided them to the Premier League title and hopes were high the famous old club would be returning to its rightful place at the top table of Malaysian football.

One loss in their opening four games,and that to Terengganu on the opening day, suggested the team was slowly adapting to life back in the top flight but back to back losses away to Kelantan and at home to Sarawak have rapidly changed that perception and the club, as is the wont in Malaysia, have reacted quickly.

Against Sarawak Penang missed a penalty and conceded a goal deep in injury time which cost the team a point. After the match hundreds of disgruntled Penang fans protested outside the stadium and club officials invited a couple of representatives inside for a chat it seems. Apparently fans were disappointed by Tiago's tactics and selections though it could be argued had Cordoba not missed a penalty and a point rescued the protests would have been less robust.

Coach Tiago has been 'rested' with Manzoor Azwira taking charge of the first team - a poisoned chalice if ever there was one; Penang face Selangor, champions Johor Darul Tazim and Felda United in the next five weeks. The first two away from home.

Penang have also apparently warned underperforming players to get their act together or they could face dire consequences themselves.

It is ironic that the one other club who have rested their coach is Terengganu...Penang's opponents on the opening day. yeap, two months is a mighty long time in Malaysian football.

Have Penang acted rashly? Six games in, what else is there to think? And you can't help but wonder what Azwira's brief is considering the challenges that lie ahead. As if playing the top three sides in the table isn't hard enough this weekend Penang travel to Kedah. And they sit in fourth. It seems like the club have taken a decision in response to fan ire after the Sarawak loss when emotions were high at the manner of the loss and that is not  the way to run a football club.

Professional football clubs should not make decisions based purely upon fan reaction. Hell, I have been whining about Wenger for eight  years now! If this incident proves anything it is the need for professional football people to be involved in the running of clubs and not just political appointees in search of a positive headline for appearing to bow down to the public when it suits them.

If Penang have acted in haste then over the next few weeks bith club and fans will have plenty of time to rue that decision.

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