Thursday, August 13, 2009

FAM must help the states

Anthonysamy (left) having a discussion with Santokh, Mokhtar, Ong Yu Tiang and R. Arumugam during the "jersey war" match .

These days he spends most of his time at home and ocassionally with friends but he keeps in touch with the happenings in the local football scene.

Former Secretary of the Football Association of Selangor (FAS) S. Anthonysamy (picture) laments at the state of soccer in the country and, mostly, in the state he served for 25 years.

From 1976 till 1993 Anthonysamy served as Secretary under four different Menteri Besars - Dato' Haji Harun Idris, Dato' Hormat Rafei, Dato Haji Ahmad Razali Mohd Ali and Tan Sri Mohammad Muhammad Taib.

"FAM should play a role in assisting the states set up proper leagues because it is from this leagues we get players for the state teams and the national team selects from the state, therefore they cannot say its not their problem," says Anthonysamy who resigned on 1st July 1993.

During his tenure as Secretary, FAS had the best league system in the country, in fact probably in South East Asia . Selangor had Division 1, 2 and 3, and also the Dunhill League, Premier League, a tournament fort government offices and also a business houses league.

"We had not less that 20 teams in each leaque," said Anthonysamy who will be celebrating his 75 birthday on 23rd December.

None can deny that Selangor had the tops clubs in the 70s, 80s and even in the early 90s. Some of the famous ones include Hong Chin, PKNS, TPCA, SIA, Umno, SCRC and Telesco.

"Players like Wong Choon Wah, Soh Chin Aun, Mokhtar Dahari, R. Arumugam and Ong Yu Tiang were products of the domestic leagues. Without district and state leagues how do you expect the football standard to improve.

"Now days selections are done in trials, not through performances in the league. We should select players from the league and then have trials," added Anthonysamy.

When one talks about the ills of football, many point the finger at the states, including FAM who should play a part in helping states organize leagues at district levels.

In Selangor, the office bearers who took over from Anthonysamy ammended the constitution to remove district associations. Only clubs can be affiliates, whether or not they have a team or are participating in a league.

Maybe they (the office bearers) want to stay on forever.

Anthonysamy, like many other veteran officials, feel the lack of playing field may also have resulted in teams not wanting to carry on.

However, many feel that this can be overcome if clubs and teams can seek cooperation with schools to use their padang for traning. But, this would depend on whether there is a league to participate in.

Anthonysamy keeps all the newspaper clipings from as far as the 70s. His favourite picture is one taken during the famous "jersey war" during the first leg semifinal 1983 Malaysia Cup match between Selangor and Kelantan at the Stadium Merdeka.

The picture, taken by famous sports photographer, Khalid Redza, shows Santokh Singh, Mokhtar Dahari, Ony Yu Tiang and R. Arumugam discussing the "jersey war" with Anthonysamy.

Mokhtar, Yu Tiang and Arumugam have since passed on.

The match was delayed for an hour after both the teams came in an all red attire and refused to change. After about 50 minutes, and a toss of coin, Selangor changed to yellow and Kelantan to white jerseys.

The match, played in front of a capacity crowd, ended in a 1-1 draw. Selangor's goal was scored by Mokhtar Dahari while Kelantan led by a Anizan Daud gol.

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