Saturday, April 26, 2003

Be fair to all (The Malay Mail)

IN a multi-racial country like Malaysia where the population live in
harmony, one would expect the best athletes, no matter what race or
background, to be selected.
But sadly, this is not happening.
One of the sports where players from certain ethnic groups are shut out
is soccer.
And what is even more tragic is that it is happening at club level,
which is the ground for development of sports.
It is learnt that several clubs competing in the FAM Cup have a rule not
to include players from certain ethnic groups.
While it is the prerogative of the clubs to choose their players, they
have a role to play in the development of the game and give fair
opportunity to all.
One club allowed players from all ethnic groups to attend trials and
then shorlisted a mixed squad and even registered the players. But the
club's management decided they had to drop players from a certain ethnic
This is really sad because if the player was initially selected, it only
meant that he had the talent, but to deny him the opportunity to progress
in the game is really a shame.
Some State teams even practise the same policy with foreign players
where if they are of a certain religion, they will not be hired even if he
is a good player.
In all sports in the country, the need for a multi-national composition
is always encouraged. Even communal-based competitions have been
encouraged to include players from other races and this has been followed.
Some tournaments even have a rule to include a minimum number of players
from other races.
Soccer competitions organised by the Malaysian Chinese Football Associa-
tion and Malaysian Indian Sports Association have a rule to include
players from other races.
It is sad that things like this happen because in a multi-racial
country, we have the best of several worlds where the variety of players
in a team will see different strengths in certain areas like skills and
stamina to form a well- balanced team.
But instead of making full use of these blessings to form a formidable
team, the "hidden policies" of some teams certainly do not augur well for
sports in the country.