Wednesday, August 31, 1994

Heading Nowhere (The Malay Mail)

ANOTHER Olympic soccer squad for the 1996 Atlanta Games have been named
and are now training in France and coincidentally, a national team have
also been named at the same time for the Hiroshima Asian Games in October.
One may ask what have the two squads in common?
The answer should matter a great deal because in most countries, their
Olympic squads have seen many of their players promoted to the national
But sadly in Malaysia, it has always not been the case.
Time and again, we have the Olympic squad or the Tigers or back-up squad
... call them by whatever name, but they are supposed to be feeder squads.
But most of the time, we find that millions of ringgit are spent on
these feeder squads, only to see these players never realising their full
potential or are neglected halfway and failing to make the national squad.
It was no different when the Asian Games squad were named.
Only four players from the "Barcelona Babes" made the national squad.
They are strikers Azman Adnan and Ong Kim Swee, midfielder Yap Wai Loon
and defender Chong King Kong, who was a striker with the squad then.
Whatever happened to the 24 odd players who had trained for 18 months
for the Barcelona pre-Olympic tournament and featured in more than 80
local and international matches - where close to one million ringgit was
spent on them!
Most of these players are still playing with their respective States,
but they are suddenly not good enough to make the grade for the senior
national team.
One would ask what had happened along the way? Many reasons come to
One of them is that the Barcelona Olympic squad were not retained after
their assignment.
This is nothing new because since the Tigers squad were formed in the
early 80s, we have often been told that they would be our future national
team but only to see a few of the players being promoted midway and the
rest of them left out.
And each time a national coach was named, he would pick the cream of
players to have a mixed squad and more players were lost in the process.
Then of course, the players themselves have to be blamed. Their Olympic
status are upgraded the moment they finish their assignments and State FAs
would pay high wages to secure them.
Therein lies the problem because players who are only 21 suddenly get to
enjoy the luxuries of life and soon get carried away and forget all about
Among the players from the 1991 Olympic squad who have not made the cut
are Chong Kim Boon, Mohamad Firos Mohamed, Othman Katmon, Chee Wan Hoe,
Salahuddin Che Ros, Saziman Ismail, Ahmad Fauzi Ibrahim, Ghazali Ismail,
V. Thinagaran, G. Karthekayan, Loius Jakai, Wong Kok Sum, Abu Bakar
Ismail, Edres Selamat, Lee Thean Ewe, Mubin Mokhtar, Malek Rahman, Adnan
Ibrahim, Azmi Ahmad and Mohamad Riduan Abdul Rafar.
It is hoped that the same fate does not befall this Olympic squad
because we will only be going through the motion all over again without
heading anywhere.

Thursday, August 18, 1994

Spoilt brats! (17/08/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 17/08/1994
Headline : Spoilt brats!

SOCCER players in the country are fast gaining a reputation as an
ungrateful and spoilt lot.
And with news fast spreading that soccer players are into `fixing
matches' these days, their reputation has deteriorated further.
Indeed, a majority of the local soccer players hardly know the word
The players claim to be professionals because the game has now become
their bread and butter in Malaysia but everything is just a cosmetic
The players are as amateur as they were before the game went semi-pro in
1989 and professional this year.
Soccer players earn anything between RM1,000 and RM15,000 per month
without any proper academic qualifications.
A graduate from a university expects to earn about RM800 to RM1,000 in
his first job.
Soccer players train about for a maximum of two to three hours for five
days a week and play 90 minutes of soccer at the end of the week. A normal
wage earner works between seven and ten hours a day and his wages do not
even come close to soccer players.
Even a doctor who does locum tenons is paid only about RM130 to RM160
for a seven to eight-hour job when a soccer player who earns an average of
RM6,000 gets about RM200 for two to three hours of training a day.
And some of them do not even have the Sijil Rendah Pendidikan (SRP or
But the players sadly are not as professional as the doctors or other
skilled workers doing their jobs.
Soccer players have fancy cars, luxurious homes, spend quite a bit on
entertainment and, in short, live life on the fast lanes and come under
the high society bracket.
Of course the players defend their high wages by saying that they have a
short playing career and they have to earn high wages now to support
themselves later.
All this is fine, if they go about their jobs (playing the game) with
all sincerity and commitment.
But most of the time, half of the professionals take the State FAs of
even the national body for a ride.
They play when want to and take it easy when they feel like it.
And at the end of the day, the losers, besides the game itself, are the
fans who fork out their hard earned wages to watch these players make a
mockery of themselves.
And to add salt to the injury, some players are involved with the fixing
of matches and, in the process, earning some unbelievable sums of money by
cheating the public and the soccer administrators.
Sometimes, one begins to wonder if these players have such a greed for
money just to maintain their high profile and expensive lifestyles.
Worst of all, these players do not justify their high salaries by trying
to put up a decent performance.
And at the end of the season, the players market themselves and the
State FAs fall for their tricks whereby they will haggle with other States
to secure their services and inevitably "jacking up" these players'
It is about time these players put the brakes and think seriously
whether they are doing justice to the soccer fans and the game.
If these players have any conscience, they will repent and give the
value the game deserves.