Perak should take a leaf out of Leicester’s book of achievements

Leicester City's chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha holds up the winner's trophy as the Leicester players celebrate victory after the English FA Cup final football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Wembley Stadium in north west London on May 15, 2021. - Leicester won the FA Cup for the first time in the club's 137-year history as Youri Tielemans's sensational strike beat Chelsea 1-0 in front of 22,000 fans at Wembley. - AFP

ON Saturday Leicester emerged victorious in the FA Cup but it was the scene after the final whistle that got me teared up.

The players brought the owner Aiyawatt, the son of late Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, to the field to hoist the trophy.

Under the father, the team had claimed the English Premier League title in 2015-16 and this time, the son has continued the legacy. Mind you, both pulled it off under different and difficult circumstances.

That’s what football is all about – undying passion for the game and the club and rising tall through years of hard work and sustainability.

The 1-0 win against Chelsea did not only underline Leicester’s status as a genuine top class English club but also showed how they had reached there by not spending big bucks or embroiled in internal problems.

Their recruitment went smoothly, and the owners did everything according to their means. They did not break the bank just to appease the fans.

Looking at their success, it makes me sad to see my favourite side Perak in the doldrums and mired by financial woes.

As a loyal supporter for 14 years, it is bewildering to see Perak’s poor run on the pitch but more so, the finger-pointing over wage arrears, off it.

The management have questioned the player’s spirit which led to the departure of Shahrul Saad, Guilherme De Paula, J. Partiban and D. Kenny Pallraj to other teams, half way through the season.

Club treasurer Datuk Sham Mat Sahat for instance stated that players could leave if they wanted to and preferred to keep those, who only have the “Jiwa” (soul) to play for the state.

He has since apologised, but the damage has been done. The future of the current players are uncertain and Perak are hunting for a new chief executive officer after Rizal Naizali left the post.

So where does it leave the Silver State? Is there a way out for them?

Yes, of course there is. They can spend according to their means, believe in their youth system and slowly rise from the rubble with intelligent marketing and management.

It’s not all doomsday for Perak, who are lying 10th in the Super League and are on the brink of relegation. Look at Leicester, they defied the odds to rise from the ashes to reach the pinnacle again.

It may not happen now, but if there is steady progress in the next five years, Perak football will rise again. But one should never ever undermine the ethos of the game by being in it for the money.

Also, stop politicising the game. If things are done correctly, problems will never come their way.

Let’s hope they will live up to their own club’s war cry, ‘Kejor Yeop Kejor’ (Keep on chasing).

Leicester’s achievement has given hope to beleaguered clubs like Perak that they can return to their halcyon days of old – provided committed people are in place.

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Leicester City , FA Cup , Perak , Super League


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