Football is slowly losing its lustre


  • The Gaffer
  • Saturday, 23 Jan 2016

Hasmiza at a cheque presentation ceremony with Annuar

SOMETIMES I wonder... Where is the world heading? How is the world going to be? Will it be good or bad?

I am turning 26 this year but I feel like a seven-year-old kid who questions every existence.

From politics to environment, there are so many questions instead of answers. I played cricket during my school days but my first love was always football.

As a kid, I always thought football was all about fun and passion. But as I grew older, covering, playing and reading the game became a pain.

All this may sound melancholic and the hew of it seems to have surrounded me. All I wanted to see was joy but now I scrutinize everything the sport has to offer.

What was the cause for all this? Lots of it actually but I shall only list the main ones.

The world organising body FIFA is currently led by a bunch of buffoons. You have a 79-year-old man who does not concede defeat even though he knows he is fighting a losing battle.

And just when I thought a former French legend was about to galvanize the sport after a series of scandals, he was implicated in some of them.

It pains me to name both men. They were cleared of corruption charges but found guilty of a series of other breaches including conflict of interest and dereliction of duties over a two million Swiss francs (RM10mil) “disloyal payment” from one president to another.

If that was not enough, reports claimed that the former FIFA president was still being paid salary by the association even though he was suspended.

With leaders like these, I am not surprised that match fixing, corruption and inflated market is still rampant in the game.

Then we have presidents who think they know their clubs better. They seem to feel that they have saved the club by getting sponsorship but actually, they have sold the soul of the club.

Kelantan, now known as the Pamoga Qu Puteh Red Warriors - No, make it Pamoga Qu Puteh Pink Warriors - are in the news thanks to Datuk Seri Hasmiza Othman or better known as Dr Vida.

She is someone who wants things her way but she is only the sponsor and honorary adviser.

First, she wanted the stadium to be painted pink. She got it! She wanted the name of the team to be changed since she is the primary sponsor. Check!

But now she wants to make her own team jersey and use pink as the colour!

If that is not enough, she does not want Nike to be the primary kit sponsor although the sports giants signed a contract with East coast side earlier!

And there is no need for you to go the press and say that you are pledging certain amount of money to build the team.

Do it and then publicise. If you do not do it, the fans will surely get back at you! In Perak, they say, Jangan nak ngecek le, yob (Do not lie).

Come on, if you want that to happen, just buy the team! Berjaya Group's Tan Sri Vincent Tan did that but you could see the results later. Reputation wise, it was not great!

I am young but when it comes to tradition, it is best to leave it as it is. Honestly, I cannot see Kelantan in pink. They have been synonymous with the name Red Warriors!

The team is cash strapped and Tan Sri Annuar Musa had to find a way to bring them out of the rut. What he did was good but selling the soul of the club? Some fans will never forgive him for that.

Then we have prima donnas who think they are better than their managers. Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez were the victims of it.

In Real Madrid, some players did not look happy when Benitez took charge and some did not perform to expectations. Reason… They just cannot gel with Benitez’s tactics!

Because of that, Benitez was sacked and Zinedine Zidane took over the hot seat. The same in Chelsea too! Players under performed but Mourinho got the blame and the chop!

For goodness sake, you are being paid millions and you expect them to follow your tune! Those days, players respect managers and always followed their instructions. Now, things seem to have change!

Then we have sports associations which promised something but do otherwise. The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) promised a foreign coach to change the fortunes of the national team but the selection committee led by Datuk Mokhtar Ahmad selected Datuk Ong Kim Swee as the coach.

No offense to the man fondly known as Coach or OKS by fans but promises should be fulfilled. If you cannot fulfill that, then might as well not promise! Just tell the fans that you are looking for a coach without mentioning their nationalities.

But this is no surprise. We have seen many promises not fulfilled by the association. By now, I should not be the optimistic person  who tries to find the good in everything.

It is quite depressing to start my column for 2016 on this note. I truly believe that football is slowly losing its luster. Hopefully in the weeks to come, I am able to pen columns that once made this game beautiful!

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