I was on my way back home from office last week, when a friend called me and said, “You have to check this video out!”
Well that video gave me something to write about in my column this week.
As it turns out Selangor fans turned up at the team’s training ground on Wednesday evening and questioned their players about the 4-0 defeat to Felda United in the first-leg quarterfinal match of the Malaysia Cup.
“Did someone pay you? Tell us the truth...We have our sources!” said one fan.
Captain Mohd Bunyamin Omar said that the players weren’t at their best and that’s why Felda United thrashed them.Some players even lashed out at the fans but their captain pacified them.
(The video can be seen at www.facebook.com/video.php?v=625823490870190)
Fans in Malaysia have their own ways of venting their displeasure if their team isn’t doing well.
Their worries are warranted. Selangor is out of the Malaysia Cup (after losing 7-3 on aggregate) and they are ending the season empty handed. Even Bunyamin admitted that there was something seriously wrong after the 4-0 defeat.
Was it because of bonuses? Was the match-fixed? Players did not get their wages?
All these lingered in the minds of many Selangor fans and maybe, Bunyamin too.
“I’m not sure about the issue because I think the management did not promise any financial rewards. Even if it’s true, it is probably among the management and certain individuals because honestly, I have no idea about the bonus.
“I can’t say a lot in regards to match-fixing because I don’t know the truth behind it. That’s up to anyone to say but from what I saw that night, there was something wrong with the players, as if they didn’t want to play,” Bunyamin told Arena Metro recently.
His statement came as no surprise at all.
Former Johor, Perak and Kelantan coach Steve Darby said the biggest reason why players fix games is because their wages aren’t paid on time.
“If a player is owed three months wages he loses all loyalty to management and also often 'needs' the money.
“This is often the case in Malaysia where many of the poor Malay boys do not manage money well and often live from salary to salary. If a player does not have money to feed his children he may well resort to match fixing,” said the 59-year-old coach who had his fair share of dubious matches in South East Asia.
The first thing that comes to mind when a team goes through a barren run is whether there is any match fixing involved.
These are all the same old problems plaguing Malaysian football problems - players not being paid, management making drastic changes, officials fixing matches and fans going bonkers.
Being an optimistic chap, I always sense that something good is going to happen. But the question is when?
Some players can get annoyed with fans for questioning their commitment but the players should also realise that these fans sacrifice their time and money to watch their matches and they only want their team to do well.
I can only hope that Selangor have answers for their fans next season. This season, they have been inconsistent and Mehmet Durakovic has to address that problem, although the management will have to give him their full support.
The league could be privatised next season but only JDT FC looks like it is prepared for it.
If we can abolish match-fixing, pay players on time, have professional management and have a good pitch to play on, then can we see big changes in Malaysian football.
But until then, talk about privatising the league might just be premature.