KUALA LUMPUR: The national football squad needs a period of 10 years to relive the golden age and footballing excellence of the team in the 1970s and early 80s.
Former national player Khalid Ali believes a decade is about enough time for the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) led by Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim to bring back the golden era of the Harimau Malaysia.
The Tunku Mahkota of Johor's (TMJ) midas touch, said Khalid, changed the fortunes of the Johor Darul Ta'zim squad, and this showed he had the capability to realise the dream of all Malaysians to see the squad rise to glory after three quiet decades.
"From the vision and mission outlined by Tunku Ismail, I believe that in 10 years from now all football fans in the country can definitely see the national team show its prowess in Asia again.
"Tunku Ismail's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in JDT proved his ability and it is not surprising if it can be done with the national team as well," he told Bernama.
Recognising the fact there were no shortcuts to re-conquer the Asian stage, Khalid, one of the main players behind the success of the national team in the qualifying campaign for the 1980 Moscow Olympics believed FAM should produce more talented players.
He said that the desire to recapture Asia in the next 10 years was not impossible if the FAM produces players of quality on par with neighbouring country Thailand.
"It is impossible to achieve the level of greatness such as that of Japan, South Korea and Saudi Arabia as long as we still lack quality players.
"We cannot yet cope with quality of the Thai team which is now successfully competing with the big Asian teams in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers," he said.
Khalid said fans should also play their role as the twelfth player of the squad through their support.
Therefore, supporters should not only hope for a quick fix but rather give a little time to Tunku Ismail to steer his fleet to formulate an agenda to restore the dignity of the country in football.
In the meantime, Khalid also described Tunku Ismail as an open-minded person who was ready to accept any form of constructive criticism.
He said this allowed each individual the opportunity to voice any opinion for the progress of football in the country in a professional manner.
"TMJ does not like people who like to curry favour. TMJ is a leader who is decisive, but can accept constructive criticism from supporters for the common good," he said. -- Bernama