Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My humble apologies

Encik K. Rajagobal,
Tingkat Dua,
Wisma FAM,
Jalan SS5A/9,
Kelana Jaya,
47301 Petaling Jaya.
c/o Malaysian secretariat,
Laos SEA Games.
Dec 16, 2009

Dear coach,

RE: Letter of apology

Warm greetings from Kuala Lumpur, coach. I hope this letter reaches you in the finest of health.

In the wake of your team's successful march to the SEA Games final, I think this letter of apology is timely and warranted.

Allow me to congratulate you for a job well done. To bounce back after the defeat to Vietnam and then beat perennial favourites Thailand followed by the emphatic 3-1 win over the host team Laos en route to the final tomorrow, is indeed a credible achievement.

As you are fully aware, I'm one of your biggest detractors. I have voiced my concerns and questioned some of your ideas and decisions on a number of occasions, just as I had done the same to your predecessors.

To be honest, coach, I am tired of seeing the glass half full. Really. Throughout my career as a journalist specialising in football, I was always trying to provide a positive spin or angle despite the results on the pitch, much to the chagrin of my bosses who accused me of waffling.

Results on the pitch certainly did not help. Even if you claim you have helped produce two generations of future flagbearers of the country ever since you took over from Jorvan Vieira in 2004, I kept on insisting there was no tangible results to speak of.

Your Harimau Muda team's emergence too did not capture my imagination. I was under no illusions that these bunch of players could emulate their better known predecessors.

The facts too do not favour you, coach. Since Trevor Hartley guided the class of 1989 to the gold at Merdeka Stadium, a number of coaches - local and foreign - failed miserably.

In 1991, Rahim Abdullah's team were best remembered for suffering a 1-0 defeat to the Philippines.

Two years later, Ken Worden's side flattered to deceive. Shortly after leading Malaysia to the Chiangmai edition in 1995, Claude Le Roy walked out of FAM.

In 1997, Wan Jamak Wan Hassan could not bear the embarrassment of losing 1-0 to Laos, hence his decision to quit.

In 1999, a 6-0 whitewash by the Indonesians left a black mark in Abdul Rahman Ibrahim's coaching career.

Kamarulzaman Hassan's freak own goal in the 2001 final was hard to forget. It left Allan Harris red-faced. The bronze medal in 2003 in Hanoi did little to compensate for the 2001 heartbreak.

Norizan Bakar's class of 2005 at least defended the bronze medal, whereas B. Sathianathan and his trusted youngsters failed to go beyond the group stages.

This has led to my being a cynic, a pessimist, whenever I was asked to comment on our prospects.

But your team's march to the final in Vientiane has become the talk of the town. Friends and foes who knew of my sentiments were quick to remind how wrong I was.

The ultras at harimaumalaya.com are behind you 100 percent. A huge number of my friends on facebook are happy to throw their support, so much so a friend, Rizal Rosli, initiated this group
http://www.facebook.com/#/group.php?gid=371934005108&ref=mf.

Remember coach, you are on the verge of history. While most of us remember the 1989 team as being the last bunch of Malaysian footballers to climb the highest podium in the biennial Games, the Jakarta edition in 1979 was the last time Malaysia won the gold outside our own backyard, thanks to the solitary goal from Mokhtar Dahari in the final.

Winning the final tomorrow is therefore not impossible.

I would like to wish you the best of luck. And I am prepared to eat humble pie and swallow my pride.

Please send my warmest regards to the players. May the force of 1Malaysia be with you.

Yours sincerely,

Rizal Hashim

16 comments:

Ms Pame™ said...

Yeah!Gd luck Harimau Malaya!

P/S:This is a very engaging letter.Read one and every tiny line of it.

nstman said...

I would also like to offer my humble apologies to Rajagobal for calling him a cock-talker. I am an inglorious basterd. Forgive me. Be that as it may, Malaysia will still fail in the Sea Games football competition.

teachuhman said...

Contrary to what many believed, I always maintained that Rajagopal has a talent for developing young players and that's where his strength is .. "DEVELOPMENT".

All the best to you Raja..and may the force be with you as the prayers and hopes of all Malaysians are too. The boys will deliver if they are in the right frame of mind and possess the spirit required of champions. I believe it is within you and your boys to deliver if not the gold at least a performance which is worthy of a champion.

"FOR THE GOOD OF THE GAME"
"FAIR PLAY"

pakmat said...

..spoken like the gentleman and a hardened but sincere enthusiast of sports that you truly are, lc..your words touches a chord in this old man's heart...it mirrored the feelings of most Malaysians, who had all but left the football scene, preferring instead to take up other pursuits..its hard to give your support when the heart is not there..seeing your country wallowing in mud while others shine..reduced to being cynics, yes, but with a lingering hope that one day, we gonna pick ourselves up and stand amongst the best again..like a father faced with prodigal sons, clinging desperately to a hope that they will turned and start doing good..and this evening at 6pm pakmat will be there..with a prayer and a tear..

al-brangi said...

kemaskan 'central defenders', control midfield (malam lawan laos macam longgar je),
gunakan right-wing yg lawan laos mln tu (nama lupa) dan kemasukan kembar yg sorang lagi tu, pasti vietnam akan ngelabah.

with a little bit of luck ,'negara ku akan berkumandang pd malam jumaat ini.

jeebsion said...

I'd 2nd Ms Pame on part of this being very engaging ...

nonetheless, I bid the best of luck to the team for tomorrow's finale.

Anonymous said...

It is always a good thing to have perfect gentlemen in this beautiful game. Top notch.

If only the people at the footballing helm understand that the time to trust and invest in the nation's fullest potentials and prospects in football, is NOT NOW, especially after all this so-called 'breakthrough performance'.

It SHOULD HAVE BEEN years ago.

In this sense, we shall need more gentlemanly able administrators, to avoid stupidity such as the never-ever-demoted-top-flight-Pahang-pre-2010 Super League-season-like fracas, which will turn away ultras, supporters and fans alike.

I just hope that there will never be a time when every single member of the SEA Games squad be awarded instant Datukship status for their triumph in wrestling the gold medal back to our shores! It would just be another typical knee-jerk moronic reaction. And YES, I do believe that we could win this. Have faith.

Thank you Rizal for crediting HARIMAUMALAYA.COM in your letter.

Let's Rise Together!

-F3154L (HMC)-

aziz said...

Salam.
Saya tidak pernah sangsi dengan kredibiliti coach Raja.Tapi apa yang saya muak adalah kepimpinan FAM.
memang betul-betul loser.

Anonymous said...

All the best to Harimau Malaya players and team coaches, kitman, physio and physical trainer. To the other 'kaki menyibuk' in the team pls distance yourself from making uncalled statement wth rgds to Raja's team performance. Where were you before?? Y all the sudden somebody got the guts to mention 'bout 50 - 60 Million for Futbal Foundation??? Loads of B*** Sh** la. Anyway to the boyz just play your normal game, forget all the perks waiting for you. Don't let them distract you. Just give your best shot coz' you gonna create the history for the country.

XABI ALONSO
LARKIN

Azmi said...

All I'd like to say is good luck to the boys.Norshahrul Idlan Talaha needs to hold the ball up better though. Good luck!!!

sukankini said...

Rekod Pemenang Pingat Emas Sukan SEA...

1959 - Vietnam

1961 - Malaya

1963 - No Games

1965 - Burma & Thai

1967 - Burma

1969 - Burma

1971 - Burma

1973 - Burma

1975 - Thailand

1977 - Malaysia

1979 - Malaysia

1981 - Thailand

1983 - Thailand

1985 - Thailand

1987 - Indonesia

1989 - Malaysia

2009 - MALAYSIA

Malaysia (2) vs (1) Vietnam

::Budak Pintu:: said...

stuju dgn encik azmi...fam perlu di rombak. agak kelakar tgk cik mat jusoh kt stadium td.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

the difference between u and alan hansen is your "sorry i belittle your team" letter. if there anyone who deserve some good bashing it's fam not rg or the boys. anyway good job mate. keep writing but maybe u should try going to the stadium more often.

klc17

Anonymous said...

After you win, don't become fat & slow ok?

Himmat Singh said...

Hello there En. Rizal Hashim. The other day, I was watching RTM's live feed of the Sea Games final, and you were at the studio too. Well, I believe you are a man with substance as you said in Malay, something like, "Saya mengucapkan syabas kepada Rajagopal dan ank-anak buahnya. Namun, saya juga pengkritik terbesarnya sebelum ini. Saya perlu minta maaf."
You said something that had that meaning, and seeing your lengthy apology letter, you command my respect. Hope to see you more often on the TV.