National Team Statistics: Malaysia
The Malaysia national football team also known as Tigers of the South East Asian football world. In South-East Asia, The Tigers’ main rivals are the Lions - Singapore's national football team and other major competition ceoms from Indonesia and the Thailand national team. Until 1963, the Tigers were known as Malaya national football team as they represented the Federation of Malaya. However, now the governing body for the national football team is Football Association of Malaysia and the team is learning and growing under the supervision of Coach K. Rajagopal. Their national stadium is Bukit Jalil.
Malaysia played its first international football match against the Korean Republic on April 13, 1953. During 1950's and 60's Malaysia was among the big giants of Asian football. At that time South Korea was the other big name in the football world. The first biggest achievement for the team came in 1962 when they won bronze medal in the 1962 Asian games at Jakarta, Indonesia. In thefinals, they triumphed over Vietnam by 4-1. The bronze medalist team highlighted Malaysian players like Abdul Ghani Minhat, G. Govindaraju, and Stanley Gabriel. “Raja Bola” or King of the Ball was the nickname given to Abdul Ghani Minhat after making a mark in 1962 Asian Games.
In the same year, Malaysia registered their all time biggest victory when the team beat Philippines with a killer score of 15-1. The establishment of 'Malaysian Federation' on September 16, 1963 gave rise to the current team name. Players such as Shaharuddin Abdullah, Wong Fook Chuan and Captain Abdullah Nordin continued to add stars to the glory of the team.
The team also qualified for 1972 Munich Olympics. The team got the Olympics ticket after beating Japan, Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea. They could not make it to the next level though they smelled the fragrance of victory after beating USA by 3-0. The Munich Olympics was that last time when Malaysia played any football match in Olympics. They again qualified for Moscow Olympics in 1980 however, did not participate as a result of the boycotting due to Soviet War in Afghanistan.
Two years later, Malaysia repeated the history in 1974 Asian games held in Tehran, when they won over North Korea by 2-1 in the finals, after the span of 12 years. Consecutively for two years, the national football team of Malaysia qualified for AFC Asian cup in 1976 and 1980. The time span of 1960 to 1980 was the best for Malaysian football as key master players performed with their vigor and zeal and this led to the golden period of the team.
The top scorer for the Malaysian football team to date is Mokhtar Dahari. He netted a whopping 125 goals in 167 games. Other legends of the golden period are Soh Chin Aun and Santokh Singh. The pair of Singh and Aun was the best centerback pair in Asia in 1970s. And Aun has represent Malaysia in the highest number of matches. The goalkeeper of the team R. Arumugam was famous as “spiderman” because of his long arms. Players such as Sarbegeth Singh, Dollah Salleh and Zainal Abidin Hasan played for German club Hertha Berlin in Germany in 1988.
The Malaysian national football team were prominent in the ASEAN football championship (previously known as Tiger Cup) after securing second place in 1996. In 2000 and 2004 the team was the third best team of the tournament. In 2007, they manged to reach semi-finals, before losing to their old rivals Singapore in a close match as decision made through penalty shoot out.
To promote football in the country the Football Association of Malaysia has organised high profile matches against Manchester United and Brazil.
Currently, the Malaysian national football team is at 152 according to FIFA ranking. Highest rankling achieved by the team was in August 1993 when they acquired 75th spot in the list.
The malaysian kit comprises yellow jersey with thick black stripes and black shorts. The jersey signifies the symbol of Malaysia: the tiger.
The kit has had the same pattern since the 1920s. Even the legendary football team’s dress of 1970s and 1980s had similar stripes. The home kit consists of blue jersey and white shorts. Since the 1970s Adidas was the official manufacturer of Malaysian national football team’s kit. However, from January 2007 Nike started manufacturing official kit for the football team.
Current Malaysian national football team is led by 28 years old Norhafiz Zamani Misbah. He also plays for PLUS football club in Malaysia as a defender and played 57 international matches for Malaysia and considered as one of the best defenders in recent years. He was the member of silver medalist football team of 2001 South-East Asian games.
Other important and experienced player of the team is Indra Putra Mahayuddin. The striker and winger has played 41 international football matches for Malaysia and netted 15 goals against the opponents. Presently, Mahayuddin is playing for Kelantan FA football club apart from the national football team. Coach Steve Darby from his former club Perak describes the left-footed player as the best football player in the Malaysian squad.
The rest of the present national football team is quite young however, all of them hail from Malaysia’s best football clubs. Striker Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak and defender Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak plays for Negeri Sembilan FA club; their captain used to play for the same club.
The Malaysia National football team’s recent encounters include two friendly matches with Zimbabwe. The outcome of both matches was in the favor of Malaysia. In both games, Zimbabwe could not breach the Malaysian defense.
Now, the team is preparing for 2011 AFC Asian Cup qualification matches. In November, 2009, Malaysian football team played two qualifying matches against Uzbekistan and Selangor and qill play the UAE in January 2010 at Sharjah Stadium, UAE. The team is not in its best form. However, they are trying to improve upon their football skills and coordination techniques to strike hard at opponent.