Tuesday, December 13, 1994

You blew it, Seela (12/12/1994 - The Malay Mail)

Publication : MM
Date : 12/12/1994
Headline : You blew it, Seela

THE sacking of Pahang's Alan Davidson and Kedah's Norazam Ishak in the
second leg Malaysia Cup semifinals on Saturday was too harsh, to say the
The two players, in attempting to get back on their feet after a
collision in the 80th minute, appeared to kick each other.
It was nothing serious, just a heat of the moment reaction. But referee
S. Seelarajen saw it as a capital offence.
The decision was very much a reflection of Seelarajen's attitude towards
the players.
He showed no diplomacy and probably saw the players as his enemies.
Perhaps he should be reminded that a referee should use his power
judiciously to ensure the game is played according to the rules.
However, his aggressive nature on the field shows either he insecure or
feels he should punish the players.
Seelarajen, in sacking the players on Saturday, certainly did not take
into consideration that they had slogged the entire season to play in the
The two players did not throw punches at each other, abuse the referee
or were violent in their conduct.
There is no question about an infringement, but did it warrant a red
Seelarajen could have just warned them verbally or at worst flashed a
yellow card.
Norazam had only come on as a substitute eight minutes earlier and had
not committed any offence during that period. Did he not deserve a warning
Norazam, who has not played for almost three months because of a back
injury, only returned to play on Saturday. He was in tears immediately
after the sacking.
Davidson was in the thick of action but was never warned by the referee.
Instead, Davidson appealed to Seelarajen to be more stern as both teams
were getting carried away in the heat of the game.
It is reliably learnt Seelarajan told Davidson to shut his mouth
because he had a big mouth.
Is that any way to treat a player?
And to make matters worse, there were several incidents which warranted
a caution but Seelarajen either missed it or allowed play to go on.
One such incident was the deliberate elbowing of Pahang's Azamat
Abdouraimov by Kedah's Farouk Ismail but Seelarajen waved play on while
linesman Amir Shariffuddin also did not make his stand.
Perhaps Seelarajan should take a cue from his senior peer, V.K.S.
Sinniyah, who officiated the first leg in Kuantan on Tuesday.
Despite the muddy and slippery ground conditions, Sinniyah had full
control of the game.
He told the players to calm down and get on with the game.
His diplomacy worked and Sinniyah saw no reason to flash any cards
during the entire game.
He did not disrupt play unnecessarily and blew for only 21 infringements
throughout the match.
Match officials should have a better rapport with players instead of
adopting an antagonistic attitude.
Punish them if necessary but do not abuse your powers!
The FA of Malaysia referees committee could have been more sensitive in
appointing match officials.
Although they are all considered national referees regardless of the
state they are from, referees are only human and sometimes allow their
emotions to get in the way.
Seelarajen is from Selangor and with Selangor battling for a Cup final
berth too, it was unwise to appoint him as the referee.
He was also the centre of attention in the last Group A match when Perak
entertained Singapore.
Seelarajen flashed the red card at Singapore's Malek Awab for a sliding
tackle on a wet pitch.
It so happened Selangor were playing Singapore in the first leg
semifinals at the National Stadium in their next match.
Coincidence? Maybe, but why give room for such speculations or put the
match officials under such pressure.
On Saturday, it was surprising that Malaysia's top referee, Nazri
Abdullah was at Darulaman Stadium, but as a reserve referee.
Initially it was felt Nazri had taken ill before the match and
Seelarajen had deputised.
However, match inspector Zainal Abidin said after the match he had
insisted Seelarajen be the referee.
Seelarajen is an up and coming match official but if he does not change
his attitude, he will not be going very far.
Where the players are concerned the damage has been done and Davidson
will have to bear the pain of missing the Malaysia Cup final.

Monday, December 12, 1994

Forever 17 (The Malay Mail)

THE number 17 is special to Pahangirsts Zainal Abidin Hassan (above) and
Singapore's Fandi Ahmad. And it's coincidental that the Malaysia Cup final
will be played on Dec 17 at Shah Alam Stadium.
Immediately after Pahang qualified for the final in Alor Star on
Saturday, Zainal said he is looking forward to meeting his old mate in the
"And I think it means a great deal to both of us as the final is on Dec
17," said Zainal.
"The number has been pivotal in our careers. For me, I'll be wearing it
for my eighth Malaysia Cup final."
Zainal, 32, picked the 17 jersey because he made his debut with Selangor
at the age of 17 in 1980.
"It must be the same for Fandi," said Zainal, who in 1992 played
together with Fandi for Pahang in their Malaysia Cup victory over Kedah.
Fandi began wearing the 17 jersey in 1982 while playing for Niac Mitra
after a suggestion from a fan. Before that, he was using the No 14 jersey.
Indeed, attention will be on the duo who are their respective country's
top player since the 80s.
Fandi, without doubt, is Singapore's most talented and decorated player.
He not only made his mark with Singapore but also with Kuala Lumpur,
Pahang and in Europe.
Both are now in their twilight of their careers, thus another appearance
in the Malaysia Cup final is quite a remarkable feat.
Zainal appeared in four finals with Selangor (1980, 1981, 1982 and 1986)
and three with Pahang (1983, 1984 and 1992). He has five winner's medal -
three with Selangor in 1981, 1982, and 1986, and two with Pahang in 1983
and 1992.
Fandi appeared in his first final as 16-year-old in 1979 for Singapore
and has since played in six finals. He has five winner's medals.
Like Zainal, Fandi has winner's medals from different teams. He has a
winner's medal with Singapore (1980), three with Kuala Lumpur (1987, 1988
and 1989) and one with Pahang (1992).
The battle between Zainal and Fandi will not be a battle of who is the
better striker but how Zainal is going to stop Fandi from scoring.
In a twist of fate, Zainal will be filling the sweeper's role in the
absence of the suspended Alan Davidson.
Pahang coach Tajuddin Nor said Zainal had played this role once this
season - against Sarawak in their Malaysia Cup group tie.
On Saturday, Zainal assumed the role immediately after Davidson was sent
off in the 80th minute.
"I could also use Ahmad Yusof as sweeper but I think Iirstll go for Zainal
against a team like Singapore," said Tajuddin.
"Whatever, I am glad I am still playing at this age," added Zainal, who
is five months younger to Fandi (Fandi was born on May 29, 1962 while
Zainal was born on Nov 8, 1962).