National striker Mohd Safee Sali brushed aside the recent criticism of the national football team’s poor form.
The FA of Malaysia’s (FAM) deputy president Tan Sri Annuar Musa had criticised the national team’s performance when their winless run extended to seven matches following a 1-1 draw with the Philippines on Feb 29.
“Its not a big problem as it is quite normal for footballers to get criticisms,” said Safee at the Super Safee comic and Safee fan club launch at the Khaff Football Academy in Hulu Kelang yesterday.
“We (players) feel the pinch when the criticism comes from your own parent body and I think its not appropriate for people to just lambast the team. I’m sure the coach has plans for the team to defend our AFF Suzuki Cup crown.
“We are still a long way off from the AFF Suzuki Cup tournament which will be held in November and I personally have to improve more and fortunately, we have plenty of time to rectify our weaknesses.”
The stocky striker is on a rich vein of form in the Indonesian Super League after bagging 12 goals in 17 matches. On March 24, he scored four goals in his team Pelita Jaya’s 6-1 rout of Gresik United.
“I’m happy with my club form. The players are slowly gelling as a team and we will improve in the second half of the season,” said the former Selangor player.
Former Malaysian football great Datuk Ghani Minhat advised players to stay away from spats between FAM officials.
“Outsiders can comment on FAM but it is not wise for FAM officials to lambast FAM,” said Ghani, who was also at the launch.
“A deputy president shouldn’t speak in public about FAM. There are rules and it should be adhered to. Players also shouldn’t get involved in this matter.”
Meanwhile, the Kelantan FA (Kafa) said they are not behind the protests by fans over FAM’s decision to ask Kafa president Tan Sri Annuar Musa to face the disciplinary board.
Kafa secretary-general and team manager Azman Ibrahim said he was not aware of the protest held outside the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium before the Super League match between Kelantan and KL Felda United on Saturday.
“We are not behind the protest. It is done by the supporters. We do not know what their plans are,” said Azman in Kota Baru yesterday.
The fans paraded banners criticising FAM outside and inside the stadium throughout the match and it is an act which could land Kafa in trouble.
“I could not see the banners from where I was seated. If you did not point it out to me, I would not have noticed the banners. Of course, I would have asked for it to be removed if I saw it earlier,” said Azman, when asked to comment about the banners.
“We cannot control every single thing the fans do.”
One of the banners read: “FAM president do not influence the disciplinary committee’s decision.”
Annuar, who is the FAM deputy president, is facing disciplinary charges following his public criticism of the national team’s performance.
It is understood that the fans intend to stage a demonstration outside Wisma FAM on April 4 during Annuar’s hearing.