Thursday, 24 November 2011

Are We Just Jaguh Kampung Or Village Champions?

We have just won the football gold medal in the just concluded 26th Sea Games in Indonesia. The way Malaysians welcomed home the players, it is as if we have won the World Cup!

This goes to show how starved we are of success in sports, especially in relation to football.  The Sea Games is a minor tournament involving only the south-east-Asian nations, many of which are very poor countries.

The Star 23 November 2011
When we won the Suzuki Cup eleven months ago, the same thing happened. The players and coach were lionised as heroes and rewarded.

The Sea Games win, like the Suzuki Cup win, is really nothing to shout about. Remember that in the 70s and 80s, Malaysia dominated Asian football. Even Korea and Japan feared us then.

Today, Japan and Korea give us ducks when we play them. Then, we even qualified twice for the Olympics.

Those days, the players played with nothing but pride when they donned the Malaysian jerseys. The teams then were truly muhibbah teams, truly 1Malaysia teams. Who can forget players like Santokh Singh, Mokhtar Dahari, Arumugan and Soh Chin Ann.

We should not go overboard with the Sea Games win. We should have our heads firmly screwed on. I am not convinced that we will go far unless we can show that we can win games consistently against stronger opponents.

And as if to prove me right, we went on to duly lose 2-0 to Syria in the Olympics games qualifier at our own ground at Bukit Jalil just a few hours ago. This loss has practically killed off any chance we have of qualifying for the Olympics in London next year.   We had also lost to Japan in an earlier qualifier match by the same margin.
The Star Newspaper Editorial 23rd November 2011

I just hope we won't use the excuse that our players were tired out from the games in Indonesia.

For me the Star newspaper takes the cake in going overboard in praising our players. It went to the trouble of writing a glowing editorial, even likening the "threat" the Indonesian fans allegedly posed to our football team to what happened to Togo football players in African Nations Cup last year!

Come on, Indonesian sports fans are known to be very robust in their support of their heroes. But as far as I know, they have not gunned down anyone yet. Sorry, I am not saying I wished they had or would.

Are we always happy and proud and content that we have won a minor trophy and go gloating for days, heaping praise and rewards on the players? If we are, I am afraid that we will always remain jaguh kampung.

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