Former captain and current director of football at Blackburn Rovers, Serbegeth Singh, insists that the FIFA world ranking is still important to Malaysia, simply because it matters to the fans.
Singh, better known as Shebby, is also certain that a good placing in the rankings will only help in deflecting pressure off the national team.
“It’s a priority for the fans. They expect us to be in a better position,” Shebby told Berita Harian from his base in the United Kingdom yesterday.
“This is what happens when we are not serious about friendly matches and as a consequence it puts unwanted pressure on the team.”
National coach Datuk K.Rajagopal however disagrees and is firm in his belief that the only thing that counts is the performance on the pitch.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference in Kelana Jaya yesterday, Rajagopal said: “We’re on the right track. Rankings do not have any bearings on how we perform. The important thing is that we prepare well for the AFF Suzuki Cup.”
Rajagopal also confirmed that a total of 12 players will be left out of the squad that travels to Hong Kong for a friendly match with the hosts on October 16 due to their commitments in the Malaysia Cup semi-finals.