Bojan Hodak backs former employer TMJ for FAM president hot seat
Former Kelantan and Johor Darul Ta'zim coach Bojan Hodak tips Tunku Sultan Ismail to win the Malaysian football election ahead of Tan Sri Musa Annuar Musa in a battle of his two former employers.
Hodak was a successful figure at both clubs and has an impeccable track record working with each of the presidential candidates, who will face off for the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) hot seat on Saturday.
"TMJ, for me, is the best person to lead FAM because he is not a politician," Hodak told ESPN FC.
"Tan Sri Annuar is a politician, and he may be in a situation where he could be forced to do something against his will because politics might come into play. I had an excellent relationship with both men, they are supportive yet demanding employers who only want great results."
The Croatian stamped his coaching credentials at Kelantan under Tan Sri Annuar, guiding them to an unprecedented treble success in 2012 by capturing the Malaysia Super League, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup trophies.
After delivering another FA Cup title, Hodak parted ways with Kelantan a year later to answer the calling of TMJ, who was in the early days of his JDT revolution.
The burly coach flourished under the Crown Prince of Johor over two seasons, propelling them to a maiden league title in 2014, the 2015 Charity Shield and the final of the 2014 Malaysia Cup.
"TMJ is a no-nonsense man... he will do whatever he thinks is right for the association. Unlike some officials who have other interests, TMJ will be professional for the task ahead. He has got a military background, and will not play around," Hodak said.
"The new president will have to generate income to initiate many things in FAM. In an investment and marketing sense, TMJ is more organised and sharp.
"He is also not someone who will go there just to sit on his chair. He wants to win, he wants to change things. If there are people around him who try to block him from doing these things, I think he will leave. If he can't change things, he will leave too."
Hodak feels that youth development should be the biggest priority when the new FAM hierarchy takes over.
"Football is like a pyramid, but now you have people who are trying to change things from the top," he said. "You need to start from the bottom. Without any proper youth development and infrastructure in place, you cannot change the national team.
"The National Football Development Programme (NFDP) is a good initiative, but the problem with it is that many politicians are in charge. If you want to build the foundation properly, you need good football people.
"I had an excellent working relationship with TMJ, and I am sure the new committee will do, too, if he is chosen to lead FAM. He plans for the long term, so there will be continuity."
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.