Newly-appointed Football Association of Malaysia president Tunku Ismail ibni Sultan Ibrahim has revealed a key component of his plans for Malaysian football – qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
It might sound a tad too idealistic for a large majority of Malaysians but the Johor Crown Prince thinks the dream could materialise if the country’s governing body starts working towards it from this very moment.
“I already told them (FAM Exco) about it. I said ‘Hey, we have to start working now’. Because I believe, if we start doing all the positive changes now, we might have a chance,” the JDT owner told Fox Sports.
“It’s not impossible, it is possible. I’m quite confident on that. That is our target. That is the long-term target. It’s precisely why we have to start working hard now. We have to change the structure, we have to change the mindset, the mentality and everything else,” he added.
WHAT DO WE THINK?
We’ve heard these things before, under the previous leadership. But obviously, there’s almost a brand new sense of confidence and swagger about this particular statement. It’s bold, it’s aggresive and it’s brave as well. But unlike the previous leadership structure, Tunku Ismail track record continues to breathe fire down his spine on a daily basis. He’s said bold things in the past, and he’s always backed it up with results and outcome.
But even for an individual that’s incredibly outcome-based, qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup will arguably be the most difficult thing he’ll ever work on. Yes, Asia will most likely be allocated 8 spots in the new 48-team tournament system that will be implemented in 2026, but there are multiple layers of change that needs to be implemented across the board, before we can even conjure the idea of dining with the crème de la crème of the Asian football, leave alone the rest of the world. That said, if there’s one man in Malaysia capable of shattering glass ceilings and exceeding expectations, it’s Tunku Ismail.
What are your thoughts?