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As Datuk K. Rajagopal's tenure with Malaysia ends, El Loco sees the failure in the national team arising due to the lack of well-planned developmental programmes.

The K. Rajagopal era ended when the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) decided not to renew his contract which expire on December 31.

The decision was made last Sunday and the FAM have also decided to appoint Malaysia's Under-23 coach Ong Kim Swee to take over Rajagopal's role as a caretaker.

The move against extending the 57-year-old's contract is refreshing and welcomed by most fans who are fed up and tired with the team's painful performances and excuses given since late last year.

Of course, some would not agree with the decision and blame the system, Malaysia's ranking in world football and whatnot, leaving Rajagopal practically fault-free.

Yes, the system has to be blamed, no doubt about that. Malaysia have not been able to produce a bigger pool of quality  players to carry their challenge at the international scene, for instance.

This can only come through with well-planned developmental programmes under qualified coaches, which everyone knows very well are vital in any sport. This factor has been emphasised for ages.

FAM and their affiliates have not been doing well in this aspect, all this while.

There must be changes in the set-up on the top to at least to ease this problem. Hopefully, this will happen soon.

The M-League must be solid and successful. Everyone knows these vital aspects, too. Just look at J-League's success story.

However, coach Rajagopal has to take the blame as well. As a professional, he is being paid to do a job and can't simply get away with poor results.

Sure... he led Malaysia to the gold medal at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos and followed through with the Asean Football  Federation (AFF) Cup triumph the following year. Thank you, coach.

But that was how long ago?

The team had been producing some poor performances since last year. Rajagopal should have gone after the AFF Cup late last year, really.

For that matter, he was criticised by several former international stars who were unhappy with his way of handling the team.

For the record, Malaysia were lacking ideas. They were so predictable and adored to employ long-ball tactics which made the opponents' job easier.

The sad part was that the team could play a passing game as evident on some occasions for that element of surprise.

Remember the team's playing tour of Japan last July? The Malaysians lost 2-0 to Shimizu S-Pulse, 5-0 to Shonan Bellmare and 5-0 to Tokyo Verdy.

These may be friendlies but Malaysia have no business to lose the matches like that - with or without the best players in the squad.

They failed to score a single goal but conceded 12 goals in three matches. What were they thinking or doing?

In recent months, fans have also been questioning Rajagopal's choice of players.

Whatever it is, now only a miracle can see Malaysia making the 2015 Asian Cup finals in Australia.

The Malaysians lost several crucial points which they could have earned because of poor performances.

And the target for Malaysia now should be to be in the top 10 in Asia rather than being too obsessed with winning regional tournaments like SEA Games and AFF Cup.

And everyone involved should work harder and hand in hand in all aspects to make it a reality.

This will make fans  happier.

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