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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tak makan nasi ke?

I echo the sports headline of today's Harian Metro for my blog title today.

Because in truth, the Malaysian team were eating humble pie.

So much has been said today in the newspapers, the telly and even on radio. I loved NST's "And we missed out on Man United for this" tag line.

And from all the response, I could say that they were all being diplomatic.
Even the Harian Metro headline.

As much as the Press and the public have minced their words, deep inside you can feel the disappointment and frustration of the fans. I really felt for the thousands who braved the traffic on a working day just to watch the Malaysian team play. I was almost part of that lot too, had it not been for my common sense and experience of past Malaysian football games.

Pity the fans who sacrificed their time and money.
Pity the guy who hoped and hoped that this might finally be it.
Pity the thousands who prayed for a miracle to happen.
Pity the people who believed.

Pity me.

We were all lied to. We were humiliated. We didn't deserve this.

Losing 5-1 to a China team, who in my opinion were not at their best was a stake through the heart. We gifted the 5 goals to them. On a silver platter.

Because watching the game last night, both team weren't sharp. Silly mistakes and bad passes were all around. Difference is, China took their chances well. We didn't capitalise on their mistakes. That's top-level football for you. You don't have to be at your best to win games.
Just ask Chelsea.

Is it also a coincidence that last night's slaughter took place on the eve of Mokhtar Dahari's passing away 16 years ago?
Because in some retrospect, his death significantly signaled the 'death' of Malaysian football as well. Pity the past.

I loved how Buletin Utama tonight profiled two boys from the Danone Nations' Cup tournament held in France a couple of weeks ago. For those who aren't aware, it's an international football tournament held annually for the Under-12 age group. Malaysia, represented by the Kedah state team finished at a respectable 14 out of 40 teams that played.

And so tonight they profiled two players. One is the star player of the Malaysian team, and the other is a lad playing for England, who has a close resemblance to Steven Gerrard I might add. The kid from Kedah emerged as the top scorer for the Malaysian team and was voted the best player. The English kid on the other hand had an indifferent outing, not as outstanding as the Kedah kid.

But the interesting point that they wish to put is, that English lad has a way better chance of playing in the World Cup finals compared to that Kedah kid. 10 - 15 years from now, we might be talking about the English kid rather than the Kedahan, who for all we know might end up working in some office in Alor Star one day. And for all his achievements in the Danone Nations' Cup, it will all just end up hanging on the wall of his house and remains just another footnote in history.

Such is the reality in the gulf of difference between advanced football countries and Malaysia. We have talent, no doubt about that. It's the supply line that needs to be running. For all our talk on grassroots development, how about getting it done and seeing some results for a change.

The challenge is to see the likes of the Kedah kid getting the right exposure and guidance to make him a world class player one day. The fundamentals are there. It's the polishing that needs to be done.

There's a lot of work to be done, FAM. I could go on and on and on about this forever. Management of our football body should be a full-time job. Not something to make your CV look nicer. And certainly not to get free VIP tickets for your tok nenek and suku sakat. I could continue but I'll just leave with a quote from the great Hasbullah Awang:

Hasbullah: (name of Chinese player) pernah dipinjamkan kepada kelab PSV Eindhoven di Belgium. Errr...Belgium atau Belanda?
Hasbullah's commentary partner: Belgium (dengan nada penuh yakin)

Not only do our football sucks in this country but our commentary are just as bad.
Tuhan selamatkan kami.

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