Malaysia axe coach Bakar after dismal Asian Cup
BANGKOK, July 19 (Reuters) - Malaysia coach Norizan Bakar has been axed after his side's heavy losses at the Asian Cup. 'The team manager told me that my contract, which was to end in September, would be terminated after the Iran match,' he was quoted as saying by Malaysia's Bernama news agency on Thursday. Malaysia's 2-0 defeat by three-times Asian Cup champions Iran on Wednesday was the 46-year-old's last game in charge. Norizan was informed of the decision after the co-hosts were humiliated 5-0 by Uzbekistan on Saturday, which followed a 5-1 hammering by China in their opening Group C match. 'Football is all about results. Before I became a coach I was a teacher and when my students failed I stopped teaching. It is the same with the career of a coach,' Norizan added. The deputy president of Malaysia's soccer federation, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, resigned after Saturday's loss, and Malaysian sports leaders have called for others to follow suit. Bakar praised his players for their 'team spirit and togetherness' after his final match in charge. Norizan was told before his team went out to face Iran that his contract, due to expire in September, was to be terminated immediately. The 46-year-old bore the brunt of criticism after co-hosts Malaysia lost 5-1 to China and 5-0 to Uzbekistan in their first two group matches. 'I think the decision is unfair,' he told journalists. 'I have always tried my level best with the personnel at my disposal. With all the criticism and humiliation, the morale of the players was very low. I have to take my hat off to them, they showed real guts. 'It's very hard for them and they showed true team sprit and togetherness.' Norizan's exit follows that of Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who last week resigned as deputy president of the Football Association of Malaysia. Norizan, a former teacher, said Malaysia should not hide from Asia's big teams despite the heavy defeats. 'We have nothing to lose against playing these teams,' he said. 'We must learn from these games.'