KOTA KINABALU: Two key players who helped Malaysia qualify for the 1980 Olympic Games say that the movie Ola Bola should have stuck to facts to avoid confusion.
James Wong and Hassan Sani, both members of the squad, praised the movie but said the inaccuracies could cause people to get confused.
Hassan said that although the film was about Malaysia's qualification for the Olympics in 1980, some of the facts, like the scoreline when Malaysia defeated South Korea during the qualifying round, had been changed.
The actual score, he said, was 2-1, but in the film, it was 3-2.
He also said the player who scored the goal then wore the number "9" jersey and not "10" as in the film.
The winning goal of the match was scored by Wong, who received a pass from Hassan in the South Korean penalty box.
Wong also said the true facts behind the national team's success in qualifying for the Moscow Olympics should have been retained.
Both Wong and Hassan, however, felt that the film helped to bring Malaysians closer together.
Hassan said the film portrayed a Malaysian football team represented by all communities - Malay, Chinese and Indian as well as ethnic groups.
"The storyline is good. It is almost similar to what we had gone through, like how we trained and went to the Merdeka Stadium in a helicopter," said Hassan.
He said the spirit of togetherness and teamwork of that team should be revived.
Hassan lamented that the present national squad did not have players from all communities, like they did before.
Wong attributed the team's success then to the spirit of the players who were more like a family that collectively wanted to bring glory to the country.
"In those days, there were no professional players like we have today. All of us played for the country. We were focused on victory.
"I feel that in any endeavour at all, including sports, if we have the right mindset, we can certainly achieve success," he said. – Bernama