Friday, December 18, 2009
Lets keep our feet firm on the ground and move on!
Congratulations to coach K. Rajagobal, his assistant Tan Cheng Hoe and goalkeeper coach Fauzi Muklas and other support staff and above all the team that delivered to win the Sea Games soccer gold medal after 20 years last night in Vientiane beating favourites Vietnam by a solitary goal.
Never mind that it was an own goal by Vietnam that earned the victory, or insinuations that Vietnam were not at their best and they could have "sold" the game.
The point is that the young Malaysian team took the game to Vietnam and played their hearts out throughout the 90 minutes.
They are worthy and deserving winners by any count.
My only concern is the aftermath of the victory.
I hope that the FA of Malaysia, the government, the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Sports Council, do not get overboard over this achievement.
Yes, we have won the Sea Games soccer gold medal after 20 years and defeated Vietnam for the first time since the 2003 Games.
But it is just the Sea Games and it is only Vietnam! We are not the Asian champions yet.
Let us take this victory in the right perspective and move on for better things.
Yes reward the players and officials, but do not get carried away.
What is important now is for the team to repeat their performance, get better and go on to achieve more creditable results.
Defeating Vietnam and winning the Sea Games soccer gold is not be the be-all and end-all. Let us be reminded again that one swallow does not make a season.
The last thing we need is for the team to fall flat on their faces in the very next tournament.
I hope that FA of Malaysia and the Government will be sensible and not pour the team with rewards.
Give them rewards for what it is worth - they deserve it!
It would be better if the bulk of the reward is in form exposure to overseas training and competition for periods from time to time.
Build the future national team around this bunch of players.
In any case, this team did not perform just like that overnight.
It took the vision to plan for the future and it was a long term plan. (Read what SS Dahliwal has blogged)
Nothing happens overnight.
So let us all keep our feet firm and our heads in place over this Sea Games soccer gold medal.
Let us use this victory as a launching pad for better things and aim to qualify for the Asian Cup next.
And it needs proper planning, financing and above all time.
Rajagobal has done a great job over the last few years and it culminated with the Sea Games victory last night.
But there is a long road ahead and let Rajagobal continue his work. The last thing we need is suggestions to bring in a foreigner to take charge of the team.
Let us prove that Malaysian soccer is capable of rising to great heights with local coaches.
Maybe it will be more appropriate to send Rajagobal and his staff for more international courses and watching top level matches.
We have a good thing going for us, but it is hoped that it will not be destructed before the true potential is realised.
The players too must not get big-headed, but just treat their Sea Games victory as a stepping stone to realise bigger goals.
It is going to be tough job to ensure that everything is kept in the right perspective, but it hoped for the sake of Malaysian soccer that every effort is made to stay in reality mode and move on.
MALAYSIA: Mohd Sharbinee Allawee, Mohd Sabree Mat Abu, Mohd Nasriq Baharom, Mohamad Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, Baddrol Bakhtiar, K.Gurusamy, S.Kunalan, Safiq Rahim, Ahmad Fakri Saarani (Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abd Radzak), Mohamad Muslim Mohamad (Mohamad Azmi Muslim), Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Amar Rohidan).
VIETNAM: Bui Tan Truong, Nguyen Quy Suu, Vo Hoang Quang, Mai Tien Thanh, Mai Xuan Hop, Tran Dinh Dong, Phan Thanh Binh, Pham Thanh Luong, Nguyen Thanh Long Giang, Phan Thanh Hung (Tran Manh Dung), Nguyen Ngoc Anh (Nguyen Trong Hoang).
REFEREE: Pratap Singh (India).