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Smoke on the water – Are we back at becoming Asian footballing greats?

After many years, we won the SEA Games soccer gold. It then followed by the AFF Cup. We see players with glimpse of intelligence. We started to see some taller players in our squad. Our set pieces are some what great as conversion rates has improved tremendously. Nevertheless, the last few games were quite disappointing to watch. Despite learning that our team has been together for quite sometime, there doesn’t seem to play like they have known each other. Astray passes, losing balls easily and our play makers only excel in some flashes of time. Despite moves have been rehearsed zillion of times, still passing of the ball accurately needs to be perfected. Speed needs to be sharpened as we always need to get to the ball first. We also need one or two creative players in the team who will play a free role roaming the field and difficult to mark.

We would have easily won the games with Singapore. The three goals we scored in Jalan Besar were flashes of a great team play. The three goals we scored against Liverpool told us that we could score goals.  We let five easy goals because it looks like we still have the mentality of being afraid of seeing big size strikers. I heard Arsene Wenger said that our defense defended well when they played us but we lack creativity in the middle of the park. But hats off to the team who tried very hard. But hard work is sometimes not the answer to become champions. Perhaps we need to have a good look at how the Japanese women could win the world cup despite their size and lack of height. Never mind if it is even a women team but their philosophy is something that we should picked up.

Messi in not very tall and so is maradona or carlos tevez. Even Aguero is not that tall. We need to unearth this type of players and let them play a free role in the team who is harder to mark. I think Norsharul Idlan will be good at it coz he is quite sleek and cheeky and very fast too when he is injury free. He got good football brain.

Norhafiz zamani Misbah should play as the defense maestro as he has glimpses of what Soh Chin Aun had. A fighter like S Subramaniam is indeed useful when facing fast and aggressive strikers. Our midfield lost easy balls most of the times and if they got one, they sent inaccurate passes. When we are running with the ball, we lack covers and the strikers are not running away from their markers.

I think our boys can play football if we change the culture of our football. If the Latin Americans are so famous with their samba style, perhaps we could now learn the precise moves of our Zapin dance. Just look at the Zapin footwork and body twitching moves.

With great support from the government, great facilities that we have, good money that can come about to sponsor the sport, we should try to find a partner in the greater footballing nations and becomes their JV partner and send our youngsters to their academy on a long term basis. We could even invest in the lower division clubs where the shares are cheaper and get our players have a taste of playing more soccer with bigger size and faster players. Nearer to home, Japan is somewhat the best choice to have our players sent for football education as this country has indeed have their players in numbers playing their trades in Europe. Japan indeed plays the same style that we played. For physicality, speed and endurance, the Koreans are simply a superb place. We now need to send different players to different play grounds. All we need are experience. We are not far in term of skills. But we are very far apart in experience.

Nonetheless, kudos to our team despite bowing out of the World Cup qualifier. We are proud of you as we are still the team that plays with our own breed of players. Lets us now bring together our thoughts and support to our Olympic team. I am sure there are more fire in them after the World Cup exit. I am sure many of them playing in the senior team is very much part of the Olympic team. The coach now need to welcome anyone that can strengthen the squad. If some overage players could play for the team, then they should be chosen to reinforce the squad strength. I bet players like norhafiz zamani, safee sali, norsharul idlan, and safiq rahim may be useful to the squad if they are eligible to play. I hope to see this team swell in the qualifiers en route the London Olympic.



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