THE 1-0 defeat of Malaysia against Bahrain that eliminated Harimau Malaya from the Asian Cup has sparked calls on social media platforms for an end to the naturalisation programme for foreign players.These netizens feel that Malaysian players are capable of beating other teams in competitions without having foreigners on their team. Ali Madan’s late goal dashed Malaysia’s hope to reach the Round of 16. Coach Kim Pan Gon said he takes full responsibility for back-to-back defeats, including the prior 0-4 loss to Jordan. Despite glimpses of promise, exemplified by Arif Aiman’s attempt during the match, Malaysia failed to score.
X user @twtfkrl_ stated: “With this, there is no World Cup for Malaysia. Stop the naturalization programme and put young local players back on the deck. There is no need to naturalise foreign players with bland skills. Of course, we’re disappointed.
“We’re not playing football, Bahrain considered this a practice match for them to advance to the next level. Overall, it is hard to say but the pain and sadness were felt tonight, so much expression but it’s not worth anything.”
However, another X user @Jon__Do, responded to the post saying Harimau put up a good fight.
Sembang apa ni Bahrain anggap kita sbg perlawanan latihan. Dorg struggle kot nk beat kita, last minute gol sebijik je berjaya score. Dorg ranking 40 tangga lagi tinggi tapi kita boleh put up good fight kot. Tahu la kecewa kalah, tapi jangan la over sgt 😑
— GlazersOut 🇵🇸 (@Jon__Do) January 21, 2024
(What are you trying to say, Bahrain considers us as a training match. They struggled to beat us and scored only a goal at the last minute. Their ranking is 40 which is higher, but we can put up a good fight. I know you’re disappointed to lose, but don’t overdo it.)
Other users defended the team, saying it can compete at a higher level and pointing out several limitations that Harimau has compared to other nations.
Walaupun kalah, saya tetap bangga dgn prestasi permainan pasukan bolasepak kita.
Selepas 40 thn, dapat beraksi sepentas bersama gergasi dunia seperti Korea Selatan, Saudi, Iran dan Jepun.
Nyata kita kalah dari segi skil, pengalaman, kepercayaan, saiz badan but it’s OK. Teruskan.
— Qrious (@BluCroozer) January 21, 2024
(Even though we lost, I am still proud of the performance of our football team. After 40 years, they can perform on the same stage with world giants such as South Korea, Saudi, Iran and Japan. We lost in terms of skill, experience, belief, and body size but it’s OK. Proceed.) – Jan 21, 2023
Main photo credit: The Star