Yesterday’s performance by our footbal team was really magnificent. I was a staunch critic of the national football’s team performance thus far. Imagine as far FIFA’s ranking is concerned we are well below countries like Togo, Haiti, Mali and even Thailand and Singapore. My sincerest hope, this team would be allowed to grow and improve without much interference from the powers that be in Malaysian football. Lets hope it is not merely flash in the pan. The truest test would be when the chips are down and the s*** hit the ceiling. I also hope Rajagobal would given full authority to run the team. In the past there were many instances when the coaches had to leave due to interference from the interested external parties and we never get to know what exactly happened. The case of Azraii Khor is a good example. Now lets basked in the glory while it lasts.
One thing I noticed the difference in this team is the discipline of the defence. More often that not in the past, even in the heyday of Chin Aun and Santokh (well even the clever critic like Serbegeth Singh also did it), our defenders would simply hacked the ball away from the penalty area into safety without much thought. As long as they got the ball away from danger it would be sufficient. But this team are a thoughtful lot. They would not simply kicked the ball into touch, they would cleverly punt the ball to their teammates or to the left and right of the danger areas. This sort of clever play is a hallmark of a good team. Dave Watson, a former ManCity, Stoke and England defender of the early eighties once remarked that, a cardinal sin that could be committed by a defender was to the clear the ball into the central area, exposing his team to danger.
I am dreaming that we would enter the world cup finals one day or at least the Olympics – maybe we could get a week’s holiday from the government then. Ain’t that wonderful? Happy new year everybody.