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Hey pressman: What’s wrong with Malaysia’s football team?- “kalah salah, menang pun salah”

I heard about Malaysia troucing Pakistan 4-1 in an international friendly yesterday through the tv3’s 8 pm news last night. There was no highlights that time (it was understandable because it seems that the local broadcasters don’t see any point showing immediate hightlight of the national team’s matches anymore), so I was looking forward to read some spirited, encouraging comments from the local sports’ reporters who might be covering the match.

But, to my horrible dissapointment, the two english dailies I read only put down (the news were at the bottom of the second or third sports pages) the win in a small size report. Both of them were more interested in John Terry’s inavailability in the England’s qualifier against Kazakhstan.

Here’s what NST commented:

Malaysia crush Pakistan

MALAYSIA warmed up for the defence of their Merdeka Tournament title next week with a 4-1 win over Pakistan in a friendly international at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

National coach B. Sathianathan used the match to finalise his squad for the Oct 15-25 tournament and Indra Putra Mahayuddin did his chances of securing a spot no harm after breaking through the Pakistan defence in the 42nd minute to give Malaysia the lead.

Malaysia added three more goals in the second half through Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak (60th), Hairuddin Omar (70th) and Khyril Muhymeen Zambri (81st) before Pakistan scored a consolation goal through Aris Mahmood five minutes from time.

It was the first meeting between the sides in 20 years — Malaysia won 4-0 in an Asian Cup qualifier in 1988 at home the last time — and can now look ahead to facing Afghanistan, Nepal and Sierra Leone in Group A of the Merdeka Tournament.

At least, NST tried to pain a somehow proud news about Malaysian’s win, although it was in a couple of paragraph only. At least it tried to picture that the team was playing somehow ‘good’ football to earn the win.

But then, looked at how the Star reported it:

Malaysia eke out lacklustre win over Pakistan

By ERIC SAMUEL

PETALING JAYA: What a comedown. The Malaysian team, having played several tough matches in their playing tour of Slovakia recently, rounded off their run-up to the Merdeka Tournament with a lacklustre 4-1 win over Pakistan, a country more well-known for cricket than football.

So poor were the opposition that it would have been better if Malaysia had played against some of the M-League sides instead.

Pakistan, ranked 168th in the FIFA list, were barely a match for the Malaysians in the one-sided match.

Still, the 161st ranked Malaysians somehow contrived to concede a goal to Pakistan, who scored off a corner kick five minutes from time through substitute Arif Mahmood.

Malaysia had by then gone 4-0 up, with goals by Mohd Safee Sali (32nd), Mohd Zafuan Adha Abdul Razak (60th), Hairuddin Omar (70th) and Mohd Khyril Muhymeen (80th).

National coach B. Sathianathan was furious with his men for conceding a soft goal after completely dominating the game.

“I guess they went to sleep … it should not have happened,” said Sathianathan, who noted that none of the defenders challenged Arif’s header past goalkeeper Mohd Helmi Eliza Elias.

Why is it the Star putting up report like this? Not only it is demoralizing to the players, it is demoralizing to us, the fans also. It is not like that our team is at the top of the world/asia/asean, we are just even only trying to build up the team back again. When fans read this kind of ‘demoralizing’ report, more of us will not turn up at the stadium for support – and when this happens, the papers are more happily to write about the ever dwindling support for the national team.

I’m not saying that the Star reporter was wrong to pen down what exactly had happened in that match. Maybe Malaysia was playing like the kids played football in the ‘bendang’ again, but to bluntly put a picture of a worthless win will not exactly will help improve the team’s image. One more thing, is that the reporter shouldn’t happily comparing the Pakistan national team to any of the M-League sides; national team is always national team. If he (most likely) wanted to do that, might as well ask the question about why Brazil came and played against Malaysia, when they might as well faced, let say, Botafogo or Sao Paolo in the Brazilian league who maybe playing with higher quality football.

Although the national team is still in the dark, I still believe that there is still lights for the future betterment of Malaysian football.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008 - Posted by | Sports | , , ,

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