Perhaps it’s only natural in a league where the standards of play is reliant on the prowess of foreign players, the depth of a team’s pocket is the most relevant factor in determining where a side will finish, in which transfer deadline day has come to seem a higher profile event than the league itself.
The Malaysian league has become a place where the solution to almost any problem is to replace its foreign imports.
No one has any patience anymore. It is lamentable that the boom in local football has led to a “mocking culture” amongst fans and more often than not the foreign imports get the short end of the stick. Coaches and players are subject to the same dynamic: an idea that somehow if enough outrage is generated they can effectively be voted off a team.
It’s little wonder given the perpetual threat of dismissal or termination, the Malaysian league’s coaches prefer to sign ready-made foreign talent who may or may not be a success rather than going through the slow and uncertain development of existing players.
There is a trend amongst certain teams to replace their foreign players during the mid-season transfer window. This does not allow the players to grow with the team and it becomes harder for fans to develop an emotional bond with those players which in turn makes the process of terminating them that much easier.
Teams mask their underperformance by way of laying the blame on foreign imports and the window allows for some breathing space for beleaguered coaches as it “would take a little time for the new players to integrate and gel with the rest of the team”.
What would happen if a team adopts a policy of consciously disengaging from transfer activity unless otherwise necessary?
Would teams like Sarawak, Penang, PKNS or Melaka be really be worse off if, instead of expending huge amounts of energy buying and terminating to stand still, decided instead to build a philosophy from youth level up?
There would be short-term risk, of course, but the potential upside would be a team of local players – or at least players with an emotional and physical attachment to the club – playing good football that daily practice with the same team mates had made instinctive in them.
We can only live and hope.