Why Lim Teong Kim must be sacked by the Sports Ministry

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Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

Lim Teong Kim may be booted out as Malaysia Under-16 head coach, but he still remains under the payroll of the Malaysia Sports Ministry.

At a mind-blogging RM175,000 a month until 2020.

Now, Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has come out and said they would have to‘re-evaluate’ Lim’s contract in the aftermath of Malaysia’s limp exit from the AFC U16 Championship.

But, FOX Sports Malaysia feels Lim shouldn’t be part of the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) at all, and here’s why.

Failure to meet his own target

The mission to qualify for next year’s U17 World Cup was set by Lim himself, mind you.

The former Bayern Munich junior coach was handpicked by former Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to revolutionise the NFDP, at his beck and call.

As per the NFDP DNA, Lim was tasked to instill a crisp, fast-paced, short passing football.

But apart from the opening match where Malaysia picked Tajikistan apart, that type of football wasn’t evident.

Against Japan, the players resorted to punting high balls as they chased the match, which suited their physically superior opponents.

If we looked at the U16 results in 2018, they did not win any of the big matches.

Lim’s boys lost to Japan at the start of the year, and fell to South Korea in back-to-back defeats in July.

We are not blaming the boys here. Most of them are still only 16, and the road is still long.

But ultimately, Lim could not deliver his own key performance index.

In the corporate world, that most likely means goodbye, off you go.

After the defeat, Lim said he was being judged by results, when his goal was to develop good players for the national team.

Ideally, a lot of this boys would eventually come through the ranks and play for the senior team.

First, they must prove they are good enough to do well in big tournaments like this.


No respect for the Malaysia badge

Venue/Event: AFC U16 Group A press conference, Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya.

All four coaches are present.

The coaches of Tajikistan, Thailand and Japan are all donning their national attire, and appropriately so since they are representing their countries at a big championship.

Not Lim Teong Kim.

He saunters into the room in a grey Nike t-shirt, which would be his apparel for the rest of the tournament.

If this was a men’s masculinity contest, Lim would win hands down.

At 55, the former midfielder boasts a chiseled physique and clearly looks after himself well.

But this was an international tournament, and the least he could do was wear the official national team attire.

One can argue his attire is simply a personal choice due to comfort and has nothing to do with his credentials as a coach, but this was about representing your country.

Even foreign coaches in Malaysia don the national attire and even sing the national anthem during kick-off.

Throughout the group stage, Lim was dressed in his his Nike’s and shorts trainers, except for once when he donned the Malaysia jacket after the Thailand loss.

His actions may also lead his young boys to think it’s acceptable to wear as they wish during national team championships.

If you have no regards for the national crest, should you even be leading the national team?


Not an easy person to work with

Discussions with many officials within the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) indicate Lim is not the most co-operative coach to work with.

Lim is said to have a mind of his own, and does not digest views of others easily.

He loves to operate on his own terms, which creates a problem seeing that football is a team sport, and working together comes with it.

He also does not mince his words, which puts him and his employers in a bind.

Most recently, Lim was slapped with charges by the Asian Football Confederation Disciplinary and Ethics Committee for insulting the referee after the 4-2 loss to Thailand.

In his post-match comments, Lim accused the referee of “killing the game” and “not knowing about football”.

While it is common for coaches to lash out at referees after a defeat, Lim’s comments summarizes one thing: He does not take accountability, and shifts the blame on everyone and everything, but himself.

It is all about moving forward now, to repair the problems and improve the level of the NFDP.

For that, the Sports Ministry and FAM needs someone who can take accountability, someone who takes charge, and more importantly, a leader who commands the respect and cooperation of all the relevant parties.

Lim Teong Kim is not that man.

The honourable thing for him to do is resign.

If not, he should be terminated, even though the Sports Ministry will have to cough up a hefty sum of compensation to let him go.


Photo Credit: FAM