Roaring Lions... Leopards, Pumas, Jaguars, Panthers...
February 05, 2007

...and what not.
Dez Corkhill: Great penalty, very well taken by Fahrudin.
Goh Tat Chuan: Yeah, great goal by Singapore.
Dez Corkhill: No, Fahrudin scored.
Got Tat Chuan: Well, he is a legal Singaporean holding a Singaporean passport etc etc etc etc etc...
Or so, is an account of a friendly jibe, sort of, between Dez Corkhill, an ESPN commentator and Goh Tat Chuan, an ex-Singaporean national football team player during the first leg of the ASEAN Cup semi-final held recently. And something is not quite right about it.

When was the last time a commentator had to stress the logic behind a foreigner playing for another country’s national side?

Yes, we are a bit bitter, to say the least, for the defeat that we suffered to Singapore in the semi-finals. And it’s obvious that one of the reasons behind the loss was the extra three feet in height that Singaporean defender, Precious had.

But let’s not ever, and I mean never ever, put the blame entirely on the upper hand that the other team had.

Reality is, we didn’t play that well to deserve the cup; balls taking detours from bad passes, dummies resulting in advantage to the opponent, chocked through passes, deflected stops, non-existent man-marking during corners, floating balls from mindless headings, average ball possession time being less than two seconds, clueless forwards during attack, zero communication, jogging for the ball, pony tails and chewing gum in Singapore. I can go on and on but who’s going to care anyway?

Nonetheless, I have to say that we are at par with the other teams in the region, and we do have the potential to be the best. Let’s look at the teams that matter; Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.

While we all are similar in size, the Thais and Vietnamese seem to have more pace. Their defenders can really chase and intimidate our forwards during attacks. And they will be the first ones to win the loose balls while we, being Malaysians, bring the ‘fashionably late’ culture onto the pitch. Across the field, their forwards would usually have no problem outrunning our defenders, even with the ball. Strangely, despite the massive amount of energy they consumed running up and down, we’re the ones who would suffer fatigue first. Where is that green ‘teh power’ genie when we need him?

As for Indonesia, we were pretty lucky to not draw them in the semi-finals. Needless to say, we weren’t that lucky drawing Singapore. Well, technically, they didn’t make it to the semis but I’d avoid them in any home/away tournaments. How are we lucky? You should know. They’ll feel at home playing at home, and away against us. While other teams have their supporters as the 12th man, they’ll have a 13th man playing in KL. That said, I’m not at all discounting their team’s strength. Compared to ours, I still see better teamwork in the Indonesian team. The understanding and chemistry between the players is quite remarkable. They were rather unfortunate in failing to advance to the semis. And the sacking of their coach was quite untimely I’d say.

Back to our wonderful neighbor Singapore. As much as we loathe the fact that a large number of their players are neutralized foreigners, we have to realize that they are not, in any way at all going against the law. Hence, they are not unfairly gaining advantage. All they’re doing is making full use of the opportunity. And they aren’t the only ones doing it. USA and Japan are some of the other examples. Only difference is that only less than half of their teams are made of ‘imported’ players. Some countries just have to go through that extra mile.

I personally wouldn’t want my country’s football team to be represented by neutralized foreigners, even if it could take the team way further up the FIFA rankings. I want real Malaysians to represent the country. I want the goals coming in from players named Ali or Azman or Nizar; names that would portray that we live in a country of different cultures*, not citizenships.

While the decision to award permanent residency is entirely the government’s choice, I would prefer FIFA to allow only players born in a certain country to play for the national team. Another level of leniency would be to allow players whom both parents are from the country; nothing above that.

But I doubt any of that will happen anytime soon.

Realizing that, and looking at the near future, there’s no other way for us but to improve. We have to get the players to function as a unit; an efficient one at that. Players have to watch their diet, quit smoking, build their stamina and stretch as often as possible. They need to work on their discipline. Let’s have everybody’s hair short, shirts tucked in and no chewing gum during the game.

Also, while we devote our weekends to the EPL, we should not emulate everything. Ronaldo’s diving, Terry’s bitching, Lehmann’s time-wasting, Neville’s (Gary) face; we have to weed all these out. The only player worth emulating is of course, the exemplary Joey Barton.

Looking at the status quo, we can only improve anyway. I doubt we could be any worse; could we?

*My NU friends would get it.


cemana ni Psycho? tahan bola pun tak reti, pastu asal boleh nak dummy. cuba hang check, untuk defender lawan tertipu oleh dummy player malaysia, chance dia 10%, dan kalau terlepas pun, chance utk ada player malaysia dpt bola tu, another 10%, dan utk player malaysia nak dpt bola tu dan sumbatkan gol hasil drpd dummy tadi, another 10%. probability utk ketiga2 ini terjadi adalah 0.001. lagi satu keeper pun nak chewing gum kenapa? focus2, concentrate. ni satgi nak kontrol takut tercekik, nak kontrol macho lagi ngan tocang, nak kontrol takut terludah gum sebab main kat singapore camna nak concentrate? yg FAM pulak dok mengantuk ja, world cup 2018 camna kalau dok tau pecat jurulatih buang player ja, cawan dunia bleh la.

and let's not start with the spectators..kejam kejam hehe

Especially the spectators with the Pro Evo references.

"woi you ref, very shit"


yg terel main bola, hang pantang dgr org buka cita bola msia na... mmg 2 3 page hang komen...

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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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