PETALING JAYA: The watchdog body of Malaysian football has scored an own goal with the appointment of a senior official as the national team manager.
The appointment of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin as national team manager has raised many questions in the football fraternity, with the governing body having to ward off accusations of conflict of interest.
The FAM appointed Hamidin last week as the new national team manager, after FAM vice-president and Sarawak Football Association president Datuk Sudarsono Osman decided to leave the post vacant due to heavy commitments and similar criticisms of conflicts.
While the FAM insisted that Hamidin’s appointment is temporary, Hamidin himself will select his replacement.
Hamidin, who is the second most powerful man in the FAM after president Tengku Abdullah Ahmad Shah, has been managing the national body with an “iron fist”, and his new role has given him a tighter grip on the organisation.
A former FAM senior official, who declined to be named, told The Edge Financial Daily that Hamidin’s appointment is “not right” as it is improper to give the appointed secretary-general any other responsibilities within the fraternity.
“Hamidin sits in all FAM meetings and sometimes makes crucial decisions in the absence of the president.
“A secretary-general’s role is to manage the national body as he is the head of the secretariat. All matters go through him,” said the ex-official.
He said the secretary-general also plays a big role in regulation and financial matters of not only FAM but also the national team.
“A secretary-general checks the budget of the national team, and by having Hamidin as the team manager would complicate things. The budget includes allowances and bonuses altogether.
“Who would he speak for? Would it be for the management or the national team players and officials?”
The official gave a reminder of former FAM president Sultan Ahmad Shah’s position when Hamidin was first appointed secretary general in 2013, replacing Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad.
Hamidin, as the new secretary-general two years ago, had to resign from all his other posts, such as FAM Local Competitions chairman and Football Association of Selangor secretary-general with immediate effect.
“Hamidin was asked to do so because it involved ‘conflict of interest’. But what has happened now also has elements of ‘conflict of interest’,” said the official.
Another critic within the fraternity also questioned Hamidin’s ability to commit time to his dual responsibilities.
“Hamidin now will have to travel with the national team for its overseas matches, and this year is the World Cup qualifiers.
“This is also an important year for the FAM as they are currently busy with the privatisation of Malaysian football. It will be interesting to see how Hamidin manage his workload,” said the former official.
When contacted, Hamidin dismissed the criticisms.
“The president and the exco members entrusted me with this responsibility.
“I have so much work to do and there are so many things running in my mind now. I did not ask for the national team manager’s job as it was given to me.
“I am doing it for the love of my country and the sport,” he said.
Hamidin acknowledged that the job of national team manager is a tough assignment, but is confident of leading the team to the 2019 Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
The two upcoming matches on June 11 and 16, against Palestine and Timor Leste, are very crucial and important for Malaysia to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and Asian Cup in 2019.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 21, 2015.