Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Singapore Humiliates Malaysia

I don’t have any interest to comment on Malayisan football because it is wallowing in the scandalous depths of shameful ignominy. And it seems to be enjoying it. But when I saw the news on the back page of The Star yesterday, I stopped in my tracks to read about the embarrassing state of Malaysian football. Malaysians cannot hide their self-disgust. The national football squad was humiliated by Singapore after losing 0-3 in a Group B match of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012 competition at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday night. [The AFF SUZUKI CUP is a biennial football competition organized by the ASEAN Football Federation and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia].

I remembered vaguely the Merdeka Tournament that we hosted in days gone by. It used to be the premier footballing event, drawing participation from teams such as South Korea and Japan – in fact, it is Malaysia’s longest running international football competition. It was organized annually from 1957 to 1988, and after that it started to show sure signs of imminent death when between 1989 to 2006, it was held only eight times.

For those who are blissfully ignorant, Malaysian football has very rapidly gone down the drain and the FAM leadership plays a big role to ensure this. As the newspaper wrote, “This is not team Malaysia but team FAM. The side now masquerading as Harimau Malaya are the end product of those 30 years of incompetence and poor management. A team that keeps falling short, disappointing and cheating fans time and again” (p 60).

I checked the FIFA rankings this morning. This is very illuminating! In 1993, Malaysia was ranked, believe it or not, No. 79. By 2000, we have descended to an unenviable position at No. 107. In 2010, we slipped further to position No. 144. The following year, we decided to surpass ourselves and we tripped even more to land in position No. 148. This year, in November, we lost ground yet again and we are now settling down to a very lowly position at No. 163!

Can we see a glass that is half-full? If we can – we should be happy that Malaysia’s footballing standards is still better than the following countries: Turks and Caicos Islands, San Marino, Bhutan, Mauritania, Anguilla, Mauritius, Andorra, Djibouti, South Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Cook Islands, British Virgin Islands, Comoros, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Somalia, Eritrea, Cambodia, US Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Timor-Leste, Brunei Darussalam, Mongolia, Swaziland, Montserrat, Bahamas, Sri Lanka, Guam, Pakistan, American Samoa, Tonga, Laos, Chinese-Taipei, Guinea-Bissau, Vanuatu, Madagascar, Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Fiji, Afghanistan, Samoa, Indonesia and don’t forget, Singapore which is tied to Malaysia in position No. 163. I shudder to think how we will end up in December 2012!

As The Star wailed, “the only true salvation for Malaysian football is for Team FAM to go”!

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