Saturday, September 8, 2012

Still scratching each other back

Yet to read the reactions of supporters after the 2-0 defeat against Philippines at Jurong West a few hours ago but yet one can easily image what it will be like.

As for me, I have not changed any of my stance since the last POV article - You scratch my back and I scratch yours - and that is the national team need to play more international games than what we experienced in recent years since our Toa Poyah-Bishan GRC man took charge.

However I want to expand on my last POV article as I noted a debate in Kallangroar about S-league vs Malaysia Super League (MSL) back in June and it remind me of a long-gone Raddy who, in the past, had always seek for his side to play ever more international games.

The reason was he believed, with no disrespect to East Asian second-tier league (which include S-league and MSL), East Asian second-tier league do not provide enough games to test the national players.

I have never disagree with that point as I noted in the past that only the games involving the S-league Big 3 - SAFFC, Home United and Tampines Rovers - themselves provide a test to the players and the quality stay out from the rest.

Even with the three round format of last year, it was only 9 games per year and it is not enough.

At the same time, the old Raddy also noted the gulf in standard between the West and East for the second-tiers and games against most of the clubs (it does not need to be their national team) from West Asia was as good as an international against an East Asian national team from the second tier.

Indeed, the AFC Cup barred out such facts as it grouped all the second tier leagues in Asia.

West Asia have not just dominated they have murder the East as all eight champions are from the West and if that is not embarrassing enough, this is also the same for all the finalists.

If that is not enough proof, the I-league (Indian football league for those who do not know) who have played in both region showcased that ever more clearly.

The two times I-league saw their teams reached the knockout stage they were grouped in the East while in the West, they will be delighted to get any win against their foes and is certainly not thinking that far ahead.

Yet such matters no longer seem to concern Raddy as he seem more interested to scratch his boss back at every opportunity based on the indication of the pre-match press conference.

"I am happy that the LionsXII campaign in the Malaysia Cup will (also) bring about some positive results in that a vast number of the players are also in the national side.

After eight months of playing together, I am sure they will gel as a unit, which will make my job easier."
Surely, an experienced coach like Raddy can spot the difference, not just in standard, but also play between Philippines and the MSL sides as PKNS and the two Johor teams do not even send a player to the Malaysia national team while Philippines reach the last Suzuki Cup semi-final and have included players who play in Europe.

So was it any surprise he back-tracked later on after the game.

“We just need to practice more together and for this game, we did not have the opportunity to do that,” added Raddy.
First, he tell us, in the first quote, the benefit of gelling thanks to the Malaysia Super League Project (MSLP) (the pet project of our GRC FAS President) then later on, in the second quote, the story is we still do not have enough gelling yet so we need more practice.

Raddy, do you even see what you are talking about in your eagerness to praise your boss.

Even a layman know ASEAN national teams are not that weak that playing like in the MSL with 10 men behind the ball and playing long ball from setpiece or from the halfway line will buy us a win easily.

The higher standard and the different variety in play of international play mean playing the same way will be suicidal as our defence already give chances to MSL teams and while they lacked the quality to finish those chances, ASEAN national teams is unlikely to be as generous.

However your concern with praising your boss (and not the national team) is not the only thing that bug me.

There is also the S$3million budget of the MSLP as reported by a TNP interview with our GRC FAS President a while back.

Before going on, I like to note our GRC FAS President had indicated last year he will keep the budget to S$2million so an increase in S$1million is shocking as where does the money come from and is it already affecting us.

The fact, our youth teams (Even the once beloved YOG team, but now forgotten ,which our FAS man has promised more games) are only playing games on our shore and against each others seem to indicate so.

This is not surprising as S$3million is doubled Singapore Sport Council (SSC) allocation of money to FAS(I wonder if any of it is going to FAM) and 1/3 FAS budget.

After the deduction of salaries, rental and utilities bills etc I wonder what is left and if your generous levy to FAM is why the Malaysia side have the extra cash to send their Under-23 boys overseas next year to prepare for the SEA Games while ours will, like always, stay at home.

$3million can do a lot of things and one thing is plan an oversea tour of West Asia which in the old days, in Ho Peng Kee era, Raddy would have demanded as he seek to develop our national team and youth but now (I have to say it one more time) it seem more important to scratch the boss back.

Such oversea trip are important as one always see the excuse that good teams do not want to play against us but why was it we can play such teams just 5 years ago.

Same reason as why Asian powerhouses like Japan, Korea and Australia play a number of their games in Europe per year, it is because the good teams are there and to expect them to travel for you is crazy when it should be the other way around.

If our national team and youth team had such a generous budget, think of what could be done yet it seem much of the money is going across the causeway to fund them while our FAS general-secretary Winston Lee keep shouting no money for whatever project other than MSLP.

So much to ponder yet nobody among the office holders seem to bother other than their itchy back which is why, two months after my last POV article, one can still see they are still scratching each other.

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