Sunday, November 30, 1997

Doggone it! (The Malay Mail)

THE FA of Malaysia sometimes are quite bewildering. They chase it here,
they chase it there and, ultimately, get nowhere.
While their sincerity is not in question, the topsy-turvy manner in
which they go about it is often puzzling. And self-defeating.
The announcement that the former World Youth squad will be the new
national team is one such decision which flies in the face of good sense.
What happens to the rest of the players in the League if the national
team is pre-ordained?
The highpoint of a player's career is being selected for the national
team. And FAM have, in one fell swoop, done away with that.
So what do the players in the M-League look forward to now?
They just have to resign themselves to the fact that the M-League is the
highest level of soccer they will play.
Under the circumstances, what good would improving the League be if only
players below 23 years old are eligible to play for the national team for
the next three years at least.
Isn't this such a waste of talents like Idris Karim, B. Rajinkandh, Azmi
Mohamed, Azmim Azram, Azizul Kamaluddin, Yap Wai Loon, K. Sanbagamaran,
Domi Che Non, V. Thinakaran, Mohamad Amaran Omar, Zulfatah Dzulkarnanin,
Cik Zambil Ahmad, S. Ragesh, S. Nathakumar, Abdul Ghaffar Hoosen, Ng Kok
Heng, Khairul Anuar Baharum, Mat Zahir Mat Wahab, L. Suresh, M. Nagarajan,
Azman Adnan, Sharil Arsat, Paidiya Rau, Liew Kim Tu, K. Ramachandran,
Ching Hong Aik, Faizal Zainal, Zami Mohamad Noor, Shahrulnizam Sahat.
Burhan Ajui, Gapor Mohamad, Nazri Yunos, Ibrahim Mantali and Ahmad Fairuz
Yunus - all young players of potential.
The decision is tantamount to taking one step forward and several
backwards. It defeats the purpose of having a successful League and a
national team commensurate with it.
There are no qualms about the 2000 Olympic team being named the new
national squad. But given the heavy demands of international soccer today,
another national team, without age restrictions, should be maintained.
This will give the players a raison d'etre. A reason to play better
The other team could represent the nation in lesser tournaments, like
invitationals. Options must be kept open instead of implementing an
inflexible ruling.
The idea to groom a national team over a long term is noble, but the
other players should not be left out of the picture.
This will only lead to complacency and lack of ambition, resulting in a
poorer League and a poorer national team.
There is no guarantee that the Olympic squad will be the answer to our
soccer woes. And results will not be forthcoming overnight.
There is a need to be patient as our world ranking would have dropped
further before we rise again. The climb back is going to be tedious and
It is thus better to have several options than to put all the eggs in
one basket only to be disappointed in the end.
Doggone it. The matter needs a rethink. Otherwise this will be just
another futile ball chasing exercise, leading to nowhere.

Saturday, November 1, 1997

Do-or-die battle for champs and debutants (The Malay Mail)

A DO-OR-DIE battle is on the cards between FAM Cup defending champions
Malacca Telekoms and debutants Kuala Lumpur Malay Mail in their final
Group A match at KLFA Stadium tomorrow.
 However, the winners are still not assured of a semifinal berth yet as
it also depends on the outcome of the match between Armed Forces and
Police on Monday at the same venue.
 For either Telekoms or Malay Mail to qualify, Armed Forces, who have
already qualified for the semifinals, must defeat Police.
 Forces, unbeaten in the Group, had defeated Police 4-0 in the first leg.
 Both Telekoms and Malay Mail remained in contention for the semifinals
when the former defeated Police 4-1 for their first victory in four
matches at Kubu Stadium last Sunday.
 Although Malay Mail went down 5-0 to Forces, the Police defeat kept them
in the hunt. Malay Mail had, in an earlier encounter, held Forces to a 1-1
 But Malay Mail have only themselves to blame for their current situation
because they could have booked their berth if only they had beaten Police
in their two encounters, which they lost both by on- goal margins (1-0 and
 However, Malay Mail will take to the field with the confidence that they
had defeated Telekom by a solitary goal in the first leg match at Kubu
Stadium in Malacca three weeks ago.
 If both teams fail to break the deadlock tomorrow, it will be all over
for them as Police will book the semifinals berth even if they lose to
Armed Forces.
 In another Group B match tomorrow, Johor FC - last year's losing
finalists and champions for the two past years - will be going all out to
beat Negri Sembilan BSN at the Paroi Stadium to book their semifinal
 Johor FC also suffered a shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of Kuala Lumpur
Maybank last week to put a damper on their semifinal hopes.
 BSN are out of the running.

               P  W  D  L  F  A Pt
Armed Forces    5  4  1  0 16  4 13
Police          5  2  1  2  5 10  7
M'cca Telekoms  5  1  1  3  8  9  4
KL Malay Mail   5  1  1  3  3  9  4

               P  W  D  L  F  A Pt
NS Chempaka     5  4  1  0 13  5 13
Johor FC        5  2  1  2  9  9  7
KL Maybank      5  2  0  3  9  9  6
NS BSN          5  1  0  4  5 13  3