Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Chong Wei is Malaysian badminton and Malaysian badminton is Chong Wei

The Denmark Open confirms something which rankles my mind that Malaysia is just Lee Chong Wei in badminton and vice versa.

My predictions also that Koo Kien Kiet-Tan Boon Heong are slowly moving in a free fall direction couldn’t be further than the truth. After a Macau Open win in a rather weak field the Danish Open once again displayed that the same pair we saw last year is yet to be found.

We don’t know why then can lose to a scratch pair, well maybe, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) can come up with a better answer.

Oh, back to Chong Wei, no Chong Wei means no semi finalist (minimum benchmark) in any Super League tournament. Look at Hafiz Hashim, not good enough at the international level but better than most back-up players in the country.

This is something BAM must address, a dearth of decent singles players and the continued dismissal form of Kien Keat and Boon Heong. At the rate we are going, we can only watch Chong Wei playing for Malaysia’s glory while the rest are early round casualties.

Ajit the Horseman

There seems to be few or maybe non-existent Equestrian writers in the local fraternity since the heady days of Mustapha Kamaruddin interviewing a horse after winning a gold at the 2001 SEA Games!

Enter Ajitpal Singh of NST and I think he is slowly becoming a horse specialist and also a tennis specialist writer।

Well keep up the good work and quit horsing around when possible. Other than being a horseman, maybe you should take up tennis since rumour has it you are quite a good badminton player. Only difference is one uses a cock while another uses a ball!

Monday, 27 October 2008

Letter to New Straits Times

Managed to get my letter out in the New Straits Times, date - 28 October. Not to say that Mohamed bin Hammam will read my letter but probably can get like-minded people like me to protest against this type disrespectful treatment towards AFC which he thinks was formed by Arabs and is for Arabs.

Don't realise AFC belongs to all Asians, not just a select few!

Here is the Letter...

Football quarrel: Let AFC move elsewhere By : GARY MARK NAGAN, Puchong, Selangor
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IT is sad but true that things are slowly turning ugly between the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Malaysia. Sad that they have made unrealistic demands to the point that Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Lt Gen (rtd) Azzudin Ahmad was obliged to point out that "they are not the United Nations".
I am disappointed that AFC President Mohamed Hammam is not giving Malaysia face with his excessive demands and conditions to continue to house the AFC in Malaysia. I see these demands as a good excuse to let the AFC relocate elsewhere.We wonder which country in its right mind would kowtow to the AFC's rather excessive demands, to put it mildly.I think the more pressing need is to improve the standard of Asian football. After all, who cares where the administrative house is located when it should be football development and results that are central to what the AFC is all about.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Merdeka Tournament is Ours!

Ok, ok, I stand corrected. Malaysia has qualified for the last four of the Merdeka tournament and my previous article was all slam bang our national team.

However judging by the quality of the opposition, we should steamroll them. The fact that most of them were either from war torn countries or came here with their junior or reserve team, should not be an excuse but hey, we need to show them how good we are or how bad they suck.
Anyway, since the opposition have turned up to be weak, this is a good chance for us to win the Cup. Anything else is disaster!

AFC should not hold its birthplace – Malaysia, ransom

It is sad but true that that things are slowly turning ugly between Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and Malaysia. Sad that they have made unrealistic demands to the point that Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Sec-Gen Lt Jen (rtd) Azzudin Ahmad labelled them “they are not the United Nations”.

I am quite disappointed that our Qatari friend is not giving Malaysia face with his excessive demands with their terms and conditions to house the AFC House elsewhere. I see this demands as a good excuse to relocate AFC to possibly Middle East, or somewhere in Asia.

In this economic depression, we wonder which country in their right mind would actually ‘kow-tow’ to this rather excessive demands, to put it mildly.

The big question is why AFC have suddenly dislike Malaysia? I mean this is where it all happened since its humble beginnings and it is truly a slap in the face for all our past leaders who have made AFC what it is today – well known and successful.

Why does our Qatari friend is so in hurry to relocate? Since the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Asian football is on the decline after the heights that Japan and Korea Republic achieved.

If you look now, only a big number of Koreans, Japanese and Iranians are successful in Europe, where are the players from Arab countries? Why only the East Asians are doing well while the West Asians are still stuck in their own Gulf world of numerous football tournaments lacking in quality?

Call me Malaysian bias if you like but the previous Malaysian regime under HRH the Sultan of Pahang ensured Asian football was noticed by the rest of the world. Now?

I think the more pressing need is the need to MOVE Asian football standards higher than what was achieved back in 2002 RATHER than worrying about moving AFC House out of Malaysia. After all, who cares where the administrative house is located when it should be football development and results that are central to what the AFC is all about.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Does our National Team think Merdeka tournament is a weak tournament?

The 40th Merdeka tournament commences from Oct 15-25 and the teams competing in the tournament won’t make any Tom, Dick or Harry jump for joy in terms of team composition other than Malaysia.

READ: Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

But let’s be fair, this tournament will be interesting and a test of sorts. Why? If Malaysia can win this tournament, I will be happy as rankings never tell the true story.

Apparently, Malaysia is ranked higher than Vietnam, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – according to FIFA rankings. But the last I recall, Vietnam are a handful, Nepal, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, emm, don’t expect an avalanche of goals from us when we play them.

So, good chance for Malaysia to pacify the long suffering Malaysian loving EPL fans. I hope our coach don’t take it easy and as all our past coaches say, use this tournament, that tournament as preparation for a bigger tournament. When the bigger tournament comes, they stumble and give another round of excuses like they were up against more stronger and well prepared teams.

Based on my own research, Mozambique has players playing in the Greek, Hungarian and Swiss League while Sierra Leone has a mix of journeymen plying their trade around Europe mainly in the lower leagues so if the Malaysian national team thinks this tournament will be a walk in the park, well, they are gravely mistaken.

We hope they will play as well as trying to look good in their Nike outfits together with their gel-ed up punk-type hair, like the Euro football stars around the world. Thank God, the team is mainly made up of Muslims, hence, we won’t see new tattoos on their arms and legs as it is prohibited in their religion.

I mean, we don’t want to say the boots has more talent than the player right? We need more than a good performance to regain our faith in the national team and the only way forward is by winning this tournament. Ignore that once again, we are preparing fro AFF Cup in December. When come AFF, we lose, what ‘s the excuse? Thailand were better prepared? Oh, come on guys!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Winning is a Curse

I noticed one thing about Malaysian badminton players, the moment success comes to them, the reality of consistency sinks in - which we somehow lack.

Look at Zakry Latif and Fairuzizuan Tazari. They started off in tournaments as unknowns, but a few wins here and they have propelled their career into dizzying heights. Now, they are a marked pair and the results have not been forthcoming.

It seems that success curses us as we somehow thrive being an unknown but wilt when the going gets tough. Could be mental but I guess the measure of a good sports person is Nicol David whom we have to admire as the best sports person to appear from this side of the globe for a long time and trust me, I doubt anymore Nicols will be coming out of our conveyer belts of squash (if any)

Back to Zakry whom I know from Seremban personally. Had to use them as they represent the best upcoming pair but sucked into the spotlight of a marked pair.

I hope they can come back to a decent level, I somehow lost faith in Kien Keat-Boon Heong. Sad but true.

Denmark Open offers a chance for them to put some faith back into me and I think, for the majority of badnintons fans in Malaysia.

Let's see how they fare....

Success Don't Come Easy

It's a pity that Lee Chong Wei lost in his second final as a world number one but then as they say, shit happens!

Well the first one with Sony Dwi Kuncoro could be attributed to his long absence from competing due to his fame as an Olympic silver medallist and his new Datuk-ship award which distracted him from training, judging by his political appearance in Penang.

But then, the second loss, this time to Taufik Hidayat is probably, arse luck. Everybody knows the mercurial Indonesian is unbeatable on form. Lately, probably by injuries and married life has slowed the skillful Indon but he is not to be underestimated.

Catch him on his day and all I can say is screwed! Of course, Chong Wei found out the hard way. Well, I hope Chong Wei starts winning to justify his world number one tag soon, if not people will remember him a world number one not because of his skill and reputation but because the rankings calculation says so.

Moving to our 'fallen angels' Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong, as a badminton pundit, I am not impressed by their win in this rather weak filed in the Macau Open.

They won, yes, but let's see whether they can convince us Malaysians in the upcoming Denmark Open that they are back in business. As pair slated for greater things, it has been downhill since their invincible run last year and only a stronger field will erase our doubts and fears.