Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thank you, TV9 and TV1
Friday, Apr 25, 2008. Time 8.45pm. I got a call.
I could instantly recognise the voice. The same voice blurted out instructions in a very clear and precise manner, just like a good teacher does, when I was covering Parliamentary sessions for Berita Harian in 1996.
"Encik Rizal, saya ni peminat blog Encik Rizal...kenal tak siapa ni?
"Hahaha mana boleh tak kenal, ini suara yang mengarahkan I ke sana ke mari kat Parlimen dulu hahaha...ha nah nih, duk sebelah "tengok I buat story"!"
It was Wan Sabariah Shikh Ali, a graduate of PETS1, NSTP's pioneering project designed to train journalist-wannabes.
"We want you to talk about the match-fixing menace in football for our Nasi Lemak Kopi O programme tomorrow. It's TV9 breakfast talk show which discusses everything under the sun," said the TV9 executive producer.
Of course I could not turn down a request, or invite, from a respected senior like her. Always respectful of a senior, I duly obliged. It's not everyday you get to be on TV.
Left home around 6.55am, I reached Studio C at Sri Pentas around 7.25am.
I must admit I had seen the programme not more than three times, I reckon, so I did not know what to expect. I know the host Aziz Desa well, though, since he was the head of Kelab Kebajikan Berita Harian when I was a committee member.
I was the first guest to be invited on stage. Over a mug of kopi O and nasi lemak on a kopitiam table, we discussed issues surrounding the news of the day, that the bribery scandal in football is back to haunt us.
I guess everything went well with hosts Aziz Desa and Zaleha Khairene Ismail, until at the end of my session when I left the table without taking cue from the assistant producer!
As usual, my wife was the first to respond to the boo-boo, commenting through the SMS "Oh what an undignified end."
By 1.30pm, I was already at the International Broadcasting Centre at RTM as guest of Fokus Bola hosted by Zainal Abidin Rawop. My fellow guest was Azlan Johar, former Malay Mail coach.
Again, I said it was difficult to eradicate this menace but what we can do is to come up with preventive measures through the force of law.
Legalised betting, like in Singapore, is also not the solution because people bet, people invest and people buy people over to win more money. It is still rampant. Otherwise why would Home United be under investigation for a recent AFC Cup match?
I told this to L'Equipe writer, Michel Nait Challal, in an interview with the French magazine in Kuala Lumpur in early 1996, months after the police crackdown which saw 126 players picked up for questioning.
Twenty one of them were banished under the Restricted Residence Act, while 58 were banned between one and four years by the FA of Malaysia.
It will never end, I tell you. But personally, football activities in the country must not come to a grinding halt.
Go ask our old colonial masters. Jual game has been part of the English culture. Ten players were arrested and charged in court in 1965, and study the history even further back, when Billy Meredith, the Welsh wing wizard whose reputation was tarnished by the allegation that he bribed Aston Villa's Alec Leake £10 to lose a match in 1904. He was later slapped with an 18-month ban from playing for Manchester City.
Remember the Luciano Moggi scandal in 2006, months before Italy lifted the World Cup? How Paolo Rossi (picture, leaving Brazilian left-back Junior trailing in his wake) was convicted and banned for two years for his involvement in the Mafia-led scandal in 1980 but two years later he was hailed a hero?
What about Bernard Tapie and Olympique de Marseille's involvement in the 1993 Ligue Un, five years before France were crowned world champions in Paris?
German referee Robert Hoyzer was up to mischief too as the man in the middle, gifting penalties to teams, sending off people at his whim and fancy just to pocket more money.
The game has suffered, true. The fans feel betrayed, yes. But the show must go on.
TV9 and TV1, merci beaucoup for giving me the opportunity to appear live on TV twice on the same day. Oh and happy birthday again to TV9 Dekat di Hati, and Haji Zar, the host of Fokus Bola.