Sunday, February 28, 2010

Get a grip

"Mummy, where's my dummy?"
It makes me so angry. I'm talking about the farce that played out a few minutes before half-time in the first of the Hun Sen Cup semi-finals yesterday at Olympic Stadium. Naga were three goals down and got pissed off when Sun Sovannrithy went down in the jostling before a corner kick, claiming an elbow from Crown's Lor Pichseyla. I don't believe the referee saw the incident but he brandished a yellow card to Pichseyla anyway. He's that sort of referee, happy to dish out cards willy-nilly, regardless of the effect it has later in the game. However, the reaction of the Naga team, fuelled by their team manager, was to walk to the touchline and wait for instructions whilst the manager called who knows on his mobile. Probably his mum. Asking her where he'd left his dummy.
Om Thavrak and Meas Channa took off their shirts, the rest of the players looked non-plussed, officials from the Cambodian Football Federation appeared, went away, returned and went away again shaking their heads, and still the team manager was on the phone. After twelve minutes of complete stupidity, someone made Naga see sense, they put their shirts back on and returned to the pitch. The game continued for a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle was blown.
I wasn't pitchside so I don't know why the Naga team changed their minds and ended their mini sit-down. A realization that they looked complete pricks may've been part of it. Or a threat to expel them from future cup competitions might have been another. All I know is that it makes Naga and Cambodian football look so amateurish, as it did when Phnom Penh Crown did the same trick in last season's play-offs. No one club is bigger than the rules of the game. There is no room for throwing your dummy out of the cot in such an irresponsible fashion. I saw at the SEA Games when this type of behaviour goes unchecked. The Malaysian team physically attacked the referee, and yet they were still able to stay in the competition, and won it, god forbid. The game's administrators have to come down hard on this type of conduct or teams and players will continue to push the edge of this particular envelope and it will all end in tears. The game will suffer and so will my enjoyment.
The Naga players hog the touchline waiting for instructions
The Naga manager decides on the fate of the cup semi-final, whilst everyone else sits on their hands
Naga skipper Om Thavrak (right) and match referee Thong Chankethya suffering from stress. All photos courtesy of


Me said...

i m begining to look on these walk offs as footballs equivilent of ice hockey players brawling. just oart of the entertainment.

some recent examples

2005 - arema players in cup final
2007 - persita away to persija
2008 - myanmar in aff cup
2009 - pattaya united away to chula
2009 - persipura in cup final

domestic fas need to get serious about this and i believe the thais have done something for this coming season.

walk offs bring the game into disrepute and makes it a mockery in the local media but until some real leadership is shown nothing will change any time soon

jakarta casual

Rick Dubbeldam said...

Hi Andy,

Imagine if there were no walk out, what would you have blogged about then? Kingdom of Football, Kingdom of Wonder?
Congrats and success on the new blog ...

Andy Brouwer said...

These walk-offs must be an Asian way of dealing with the problem. It never occurred to me in 40 years of playing footy in England to ever walk off a football pitch because I was upset at the referee's decisions. And it would simply never happen in the UK. It's all about the mentality of the players of team officials over here and in Asia generally.
Rick - I would much prefer to write about the free-flowing football and goals galore than the 'dummy out of the cot' behaviour displayed by 2 of the so-called top teams, PPCrown and Naga, in the past year.

Rick Dubbeldam said...

Hi Andy,

I once worked in Vanuatu (South Pacific) and ended up watching local games every Saturday afternoon. At least a few walk-offs occurred.

Me said...

just had a flashback...first walk off i ever saw was a game between chinese taipei and western samoa in an olympic games qualifier in 1987 or 88 in sydney...