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.

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